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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Arthur George Thomas Last Name: FEW
Date of Death: 30/10/1914 Lived/Born In: St. Pancras
Rank: Corporal Unit: Royal Horse Guards
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:

Age-26

Gloucester Road, Regent's Park

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.

Between 29th and 31st October a massive concentration of German troops tried to break the British line around Gheluvelt at the eastern apex of the Ypres salient. 1st and 7th Divisions stood in their path. On the 29th October, after a day of intense fighting, often hand to hand, the British were pushed back to the Gheluvelt cross roads. The following day the Germans attacked Gheluvelt itself and although the village remained in British hands, German troops had some success further south at Zandvoorde and were now able to enfilade the British line. Then on 31st October came the main German attack and Gheluvelt fell. At one stage the it seemed that all was lost but a dramatic counter attack by 2nd Worcestershire, stabilised the line. However, the loss to the British army had been enormous.

On 30th October the Royal Horse Guards, 8 Cavalry Brigade, 3rd Cavalry Division were employed as infantry and were holding the trenches in front of Zandvoorde, along with the 1st and 2nd Lifeguards. It was on this section of the British line that the fire of the heavy German artillery was concentrated on this day and the narrow trenches, on a forward slope, were blown in whenever a German shell landed near. At 8 am a massive infantry attack was launched against them and they were forced to retire. On the left, 1 squadron of 1st Life Guards and 1 squadron of 2nd Life Guards and the machine gun section of the Royal Horse Guards were cut off and annihilated. 

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