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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Albert Last Name: DITCH
Date of Death: 09/05/1915 Lived/Born In: West Brompton
Rank: Rifleman Unit: Rifle Brigade4
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:

Age-19

7 Milman Street, West Brompton

Battle of Frezenberg Ridge (8 May-13 May)

In April 1915 the Germans, using gas for the first time, launched an all out attack on the salient around the Belgian town of Ypres. It became a gargantuan struggle that lasted well into the next month and at the end of it, the salient, though drastically reduced, still stood.

The name is deceptive because the Frezenberg ridge, which lay to the north-east of the town rose to only 50 metres above sea level and was one of a series of low ridges that ran in a generally westerly direction and branched off the main ridge that ran north-easterly from Kemmel to Passchendaele. Nevertheless, it gave a commanding view down on to the town of Ypres and for that reason it was strategically important.

On 8th  May, 1915 at dawn there was a violent bombardment on the front held by 28th Division and 80 Brigade, 27th Division on the Frezenberg Ridge. The full fury of the bombardment lasted for four hours. Parapets were flattened and trenches destroyed.  At 8.30am the German guns lifted onto the support trenches and approach roads and their infantry assaulted the front of the Frezenberg ridge with the brunt of the attack falling on 3rd Monmouth and 2nd Royal Lancaster of 83 Brigade and 1st Suffolk and 2nd Cheshire from 84 Brigade. 80 Brigade, 27th Division were in the line to the right of 83 Brigade. They had 4th King’s Royal Rifle Corps and Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in front, holding Hooge Woods and Bellewaarde ridge on a 1200 yards front.  The terrific German bombardment caused many casualties but with reinforcements from 4th Rifle Brigade, the Germans were checked. The battalions of 80 Brigade were able to clear their front of all of the enemy except for a few snipers in an action, which along with that of 28th Division, was one of the heroic episodes of the war.

At 4pm the following day, 9th May, 1915, the Germans unleashed an intense 20 minute artillery bombardment of these positions which they followed up with a three lined infantry attack which was repelled, at great cost to the enemy, by the 4th Rifle Brigade and the other battalions of 80 Brigade.

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