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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Harry Last Name: ALDERSON
Date of Death: 21/10/1914 Lived/Born In: Islington
Rank: Corporal Unit: Coldstream Guards3
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:

Born-Neepsend, Yorkshire

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 20th  October, the left of 7th Division appeared to be in danger so two battalions of 4 Brigade,  2nd Division, were sent to strengthen and prolong their line.  2nd Coldstream Guards went to north-west side of Zonnebeke and 3rd Coldstream Guards to St. Julien. By 2 pm the following day, 21st  October  the general line had advanced 1000-2000 yards from the Zonnebeke-Langmarck road and was close to the main German line. Two companies of 3rd Coldstream Guards actually reached the top of a low ridge between the Hanebeek and Strombeek,streams  at Gravenstal  but by dusk they had been withdrawn. 3rd Coldstream Guards had 100 casualties on this day. 

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