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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Vernon Reginald Last Name: BROWNE
Date of Death: 13/05/1915 Lived/Born In: Herne Hill
Rank: Rifleman Unit: London5
Memorial Site: 1. Smithfield Market Memorial 2. Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:

Age-25

Enlisted-London

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 13th May, 1915, in one last bid to break the British line the enemy kept up an incessant bombardment of front and back areas between 3.30am and 1pm. 11 Brigade of 4th Division were holding part of this line with two companies of 5th London (London Rifle Brigade), 1st East Lancashire, 1st Rifle Brigade, 1st Hampshire and 1st Somerset Light Infantry.  In support were the other two companies of 5th London and 2nd Essex of 12 Brigade.  The trenches of 5th London and 1st East Lancashire were flattened and had to be evacuated but the gaps this caused were immediately repaired by local supports, including the other two companies of 5th London being sent up. There followed a day of heavy fighting as the German followed up with an infantry attack, but the line held and that night 5th London were relieved and moved back to support trenches.

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