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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: James Arthur Bracey Last Name: DOCKRELL
Date of Death: 26/04/1915 Lived/Born In: Haggerston
Rank: Corporal Unit: Royal Fusiliers3
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:

Born-Shoreditch

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 Eventually, during the night of 3rd & 4th May the British forces were withdrawn from their forward positions and took up a new defensive line closer to Ypres.

When the second German gas account was launched on 24th April, units of 28th Division, including 3rd Royal Fusiliers, 85 Brigade moved to assist the Canadians, who once again bore the brunt of the attack. As the Canadians fell back, 3rd Royal Fusiliers on their right came under pressure but held their ground and were even able to help fight off a German attack on 2nd East Surrey to their right.

On 25th April the main German attack fell on the spur between the main Ypres ridge and a stream called the Strombeek, where 2nd East Surrey and 3rd Royal Fusiliers, 85 Brigade, 28th Division were in the line. It started at 5am with an artillery bombardment. Shrapnel swept the bare slopes for four hours after which came gas and high explosive. At 1pm, from trenches only 70 yards away the German attacked the right of 2nd East Surrey, on a ¼ mile stretch between the top of the ridge and the railway cutting and broke in at several places but against 3rd Royal Fusiliers, on the left of 2nd East Surrey and where no man’s land was 200 yards wide, the Germans made no progress.

On 26th April 1st Hampshire from 11 Brigade, 4th Division moved forward to connect with the left of 3rd Royal Fusiliers and to try to carry out a partial relief. But all day long the Germans made repeated attempts to break through the gaps between the two battalions and at one stage they penetrated to the left rear of 3rd Royal Fusiliers making their position almost intolerable, hit by all kinds of fire from three sides at once.

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