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Arras Memorial, France Arras Memorial, France
First Name: Lewis Last Name: MEALYER
Date of Death: 06/05/1917 Lived/Born In: Dartmouth Park
Rank: Private Unit: Middlesex11
Memorial Site: 1. Highgate, St Michael 2. Highgate, St Ann 3. Arras Memorial, France

Current Information:

Age-29

193, Dartmouth Park Hill

 

The Battle of Arras was a series of offensives by the British Army between 9th April 1917 and 16th May 1917. It had been planned in conjunction with the French who would attack in Artois and between them the Allies would force the Germans out of the large salient they had held since the line of trenches was first established. But the Germans had spoiled this plan by falling back to the new and very strong Hindenburg Line in January 1917 and the salient no longer existed.  For the want of an alternative plan the attack went ahead anyway. It all started well for the British who made substantial gains on the first two days but then the offensive ground to a halt and by the end their losses amounted to over 150,000.

After their involvement at the beginning of the Battle of Arras, 11th Middlesex of 36 Brigade, 12th Division, did not return to the front line until the beginning of May, 1917, in time for the Third Battle of the Scarpe which began on 3rd May. On that day 11th Middlesex were in reserve as 8th and 9th Royal Fusiliers attacked unsuccessfully at Pelves, which, if all had gone well, 11th Middlesex would have cleared. In the event they were not called upon but the following night they moved forward and relieved the two Fusilier battalions in the front line. The trenches were in a terrible mess as a result of the German shelling, that still continued, and with the parapet destroyed in many places enemy snipers were able to go about their lethal work with comparative ease until the necessary repairs could be made. They remained in these positions until relieved on the night of 7th-8th May enduring both snipers and shell fire. To add to their woes, on 6th May, British shells, falling short landed between Rifle Trench and Scabbard Trench with one actually landing in Rifle Trench and resulting in casualties. Lewis Mealyer was one of those killed on 6th May.

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