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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: William George Last Name: DOLLIMORE
Date of Death: 02/08/1917 Lived/Born In: Hanwell
Rank: Sergeant Unit: Middlesex13
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:

Age-23

Born-Hanwell

 

Third Battle of Ypres

This was a campaign fought between July and November 1917 and is often referred to as the Battle of Passchendaele, a village to the north-east of Ypres which was finally captured in November. It was an attempt by the British to break out of the Ypres salient and capture the higher ground to the south and the east, from which the enemy had been able to dominate the salient. It began well but two important factors weighed against them. First was the weather. The summer of 1917 turned out to be one of the the wettest on record and soon the battlefield was reduced to a morass of mud which made progress very difficult, if not impossible in places. The second was the defensive arrangements of concrete blockhouses and machine gun posts providing inter-locking fire that the Germans had constructed and which were extremely difficult and costly to counter. For four months this epic struggle continued by the end of which the salient had been greatly expanded in size but the vital break out had not been achieved.

Battle of Pilckem Ridge (31st July-2nd August)

This was the opening attack of Third Ypres and began at 3.50am on 31st July when British and French troops launched their offensive to break out of the Ypres salient. The day had mixed results. To the north the Pilckem Ridge was captured but there was less success further south along the Gheluvelt Ridge, where a combination of stiff German resistance and low cloud, which hindered observation, meant that only the first objectives were captured. Further attempts to push on were stopped in their tracks by specialist German counter attack divisions and resulted in a 70% casualty rate among the British troops. Then in the afternoon, the rain came and under the weight of shells falling on it, the battlefield soon became a quagmire. Over the next two days, suffering the most appalling conditions in the mud and the rain, the troops had to fight off numerous German counter attacks.

On 31st July, 1917, 24th Division were on the southern end of the attack with the objective of forming a defensive flank between the Second Army to their south and the other divisions of II Corps who were attacking the Gheluvelt plateau. All three brigades of 24th Division were used with the 7th Northamptonshire and 2nd Leinster battalions of 73 Brigade attacking through Shrewsbury Forest. The 13th Middlesex battalion followed behind in support. The attack was held up by heavy fighting at Jehovah Trench but after dealing with that problem they then moved further forward and captured Groenenburg Farm and the flooded Jordan Trench, but any further advances were stopped by the pillboxes at Lower Star Post where the enemy held out all day preventing any further advance. 13th Middlesex moved further forward to fill a gap between the two leading battalions but still Lower Star Post remained in enemy hands. The battalion remained in these positions for the next two days, consolidating as best they could in the atrocious weather conditions and  suffering more casualties in the process. One of these was William Dollimore who was killed on 2nd August.

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