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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: David Thomas Last Name: MURPHY
Date of Death: 03/05/1915 Lived/Born In: Edgware Road
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Fusiliers3
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:

Born-Marylebone

SDGW-Daniel Thomas MURPHY

Battle of St Julien, 24 April – 4 May 1915

Spurred on by the success of their gas attack on 22nd April, the Germans struck again two days later on the northern sector of the Ypres salient at St. Julien.  Once more chlorine gas was used and despite a resolute defence the British and Canadians were pushed back and St Julien was lost. For nearly 2 weeks the fighting continued on this front. The Germans persisted with their attacks, the British fought desperate rear guard actions and launched many counter attacks but gradually they were pushed further and further back. Eventually, during the night of 3rd & 4th May the British forces were withdrawn from their forward positions and took up a new defensive line closer to Ypres.

3rd Royal Fusiliers, 85 Brigade, 28th Division had been in the thick of the fighting since the first gas attacks were launched. On 3rd May, 85 Brigade, 28th Division and 11 Brigade, 4th Division were holding the line near Berlin Wood below Gravenstaffel ridge where they were subjected to a massive German artillery bombardment. Starting at dawn the shelling by the German guns grew and grew until it sounded like machine gun fire. It was a critical situation. Parapets were blown in and there were many, many casualties. 3rd Royal Fusiliers were in support but the German shells fell heavily on their positions as well as the front line and when the battalions there were forced back it was the support line that took the brunt of the attack. But they held on which was just as well because if the line had been broken here, Ypres itself was in grave danger. The strange thing was that the Germans never launched a mass infantry attack but rather sent small units forward which the defenders were just about able to deal with. It was remarkable that they did not lose control of their front line especially given that the British heavy  artillery was five miles back on the western side of the canal and unable to give any support.

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