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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: William George Last Name: BILLINGHAM
Date of Death: 27/10/1914 Lived/Born In: Hammersmith
Rank: Lance Corporal Unit: King's Royal Rifle Corps1
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:


34 Albion Gds, Hammersmith



First Battle of Ypres

Between 21st October and 22nd November, 1914 a desperate fight took place around the Belgium city of Ypres, the first of three major battles that were to be fought there during the course of the war. British troops entered Ypres in October. The 1st and 2nd Divisions plus the 3rd Cavalry Division had made their way up from the Aisne as part of the “Race to the Sea”, whilst the 7th Division came west to Ypres after Antwerp had fallen. The Germans knew that Ypres was the gateway to the Channel ports and that these were vital to Britain’s war effort so they poured reinforcements into the area. The fighting fell into three distinct battles; the Battle of Langemarck, 21-24 October, the Battle of Gheluvelt, 29-31 October and the Battle of Nonne Bosschen, 11 November. Ypres did not fall to the Germans but its defence during these two months resulted in the destruction of much of the old regular British Army.

On 27th  October  1st King’s Royal Rifle Corps, 6 Brigade, 2nd Division moved from their position in Polygon Wood to the east of Ypres, to a farm in a valley south of Zonnebeke. 6 Brigade then attacked with the French on their left. The French were checked but 2nd South Staffordshire and 1st King’s Royal Rifle Corps gained 1000 yards into a dip between the main Passchendaele Ridge and the Keiburg spur. Further forward movement towards Keiberg proved impossible despite bringing up an 18 pounder of 70 Battery, Royal Field Artillery, so they dug in. 1st King’s Royal Rifle Corps casualties for the day were over 170.

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