Profile Page

Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Henry James Last Name: HUGHES
Date of Death: 04/11/1914 Lived/Born In: Clapton
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Scots Fusiliers2
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:


17, Southwold Road, Clapton


First Battle of Ypres

Between 21st October and 22nd November, 1914 a desperate fight took place around the Belgium city of Ypres, the first of three major battles that were to be fought there during the course of the war. British troops entered Ypres in October. The 1st and 2nd Divisions plus the 3rd Cavalry Division had made their way up from the Aisne as part of the “Race to the Sea”, whilst the 7th Division came west to Ypres after Antwerp had fallen. The Germans knew that Ypres was the gateway to the Channel ports and that these were vital to Britain’s war effort so they poured reinforcements into the area. The fighting fell into three distinct battles; the Battle of Langemarck, 21-24 October, the Battle of Gheluvelt, 29-31 October and the Battle of Nonne Bosschen, 11 November. Ypres did not fall to the Germans but its defence during these two months resulted in the destruction of much of the old regular British Army.

From 29th to 31st October a massive concentration of German troops tried to break the British line around Gheluvelt at the eastern apex of the Ypres salient. 1st and 7th Divisions stood in their path. On the 29th October, after a day of intense fighting, often hand to hand, the British were pushed back to the Gheluvelt cross roads. The following day the Germans attacked Gheluvelt itself and although the village remained in British hands, German troops had some success further south at Zandvoorde and were now able to enfilade the British line. Then on 31st October came the main German attack and Gheluvelt fell. At one stage the it seemed that all was lost but a dramatic counter attack by 2nd Worcestershire, stabilised the line. However, the loss to the British army had been enormous.

On 30th October there was another strong German attack against Gheluvelt and the front immediately to the south of it where three battalions of 7th Division held the line. They were 2nd Yorkshire and 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers both of 21 Brigade and on the right, closest to Zandvoorde, 1st Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 22 Brigade. At 8 am they all came under a heavy German bombardment but things were to get worse. The trenches in front of Zandvoorde fell to a German attack and the Germans were now in possession of Zandvoorde Ridge and a farm to the rear of it. From here they were able to enfilade the trenches of 7th Division and after a hard fight, 1st Royal Welsh Fusiliers were almost completely overwhelmed.  The pressure now fell on 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers and 2nd Yorkshire. At 12.45 pm they were ordered to retire from their perilous forward position which formed a pronounced salient and move back 1200 yards behind Zandvoorde.  2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers lost 100 men in this withdrawal.

The following morning, 31st October, the Germans attacked in even greater force. 2nd Bedfordshire and some of 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers held the front of 21 Brigade but there was a quarter of a mile gap between them. This gap was exploited by the Germans and there followed a day of bitter fighting with attack and counter attack, trenches lost and trenches regained. Finally 7th Division’s line was re-adjusted to curve back slightly and conform to neighbouring units. The 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers remained close to the Gheluvelt front until 6th November. On 4th November, the day on which Henry Hughes was killed, they took over some of the front line trenches and were severely shelled.

« Back to Search Results
If you think any of the information shown here is incorrect, Click Here to submit your amends and comments
Copyright 2024 London War Memorial