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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Arthur Gordon Last Name: RAND
Date of Death: 08/05/1915 Lived/Born In: Silvertown
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Lancaster2
Memorial Site: 1. Silvertown, Brick Lane Music Hall Memorial 2. Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:




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 8th  May, 1915 at dawn there was a violent bombardment on the front held by 28th Division on the Frezenberg Ridge. The full fury of the bombardment which lasted four hours fell on the junction of 2nd Royal Lancaster and 3rd Monmouth. Parapets were flattened and trenches destroyed.  At 8.30am the German guns lifted onto the support trenches and approach roads and their infantry assaulted the front of the Frezenberg ridge with the brunt of the attack falling on 3rd Monmouth and 2nd Royal Lancaster of 83 Brigade and 1st Suffolk and 2nd Cheshire from 84 Brigade. This first attack was driven off as was the second which came after another ½ hour bombardment but it left nearly all the men in the front line either killed, wounded or buried.  It was impossible to get reinforcements to them so when the third attack came at 10am,  again either side of Frezenberg village, it succeeded especially as it coincided with Brigade orders for the front line to be evacuated. The survivors of 3rd Monmouth and 2nd Royal Lancaster fell back to their support trench. Here they were frontally attacked at short range whilst other Germans worked their war round behind them but luckily no German reinforcements arrived to finish them off. In the heat and confusion of battle a message from Brigade was misinterpreted and some men from both battalions began to fall back to the GHQ line. However the majority did not receive this message and they fought on until surrounded.  2nd Royal Lancaster’s casualties on this day were their heaviest throughout the war and amounted to over 900 killed, wounded or missing.

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