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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Charles Frederick William Last Name: JONES
Date of Death: 31/10/1914 Lived/Born In: Southwark
Rank: Sergeant Unit: Dragoon Guards6
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:



The Race to the Sea September-October 1914

By the middle of September 1914, the Aisne battlefield had stagnated into trench warfare and in order to break this impasse, both sides tried to outflank each other in a general movement northwards. Moving up through Picardy, Artois and Flanders the race was over by 19th October when the North Sea was reached. The Western Front, a line of trenches stretching from Belgium to Switzerland, was now a reality. Initially it was the French army that conducted this movement whilst the British Expeditionary Force remained on the Aisne but by 6 October British reinforcements were needed to help beat off German attacks around Lille. They moved north and along with reinforcements from Britain, they took up new positions in Flanders, on the left of the Allied line and much closer to the Channel ports.

The Battle of Messines 12th October-2nd November 1914

The Battle of Messines was fought  in October 1914. It was part of the Race to the Sea and it took place between the Comines-Ypres canal  and  the River Douve. It involved the 1st and 2nd Cavalry Divisions and elements  of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Divisions as well part of the Indian Division.

In the early morning of 31st October, there was a strong German attack at Messines and just further to the north at Wytschaete where 2nd Cavalry Division held  a 3 ½ mile front between Wytschaete and the Comines canal.  Trenches were blown in and men buried alive but there was no serious German attack during the morning.  British artillery fire proved very effective in stopping the Germans. At 4.45 pm there was a determined German attack against 4 Cavalry Brigade where 6th Dragoon Guards were one of the units in the line. This lasted ¾ hour then died away.  At 6.30 pm, all became quiet and 2nd Cavalry Divisions line was reorganised and at 10.15 pm a further attack against the whole front of 2nd Cavalry Division which again came to nothing.  From Messines to the canal the line had been held intact except for the salient around Messines.  

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