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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Edmond John Last Name: HADDOCK
Date of Death: 13/05/1915 Lived/Born In: Walthamstow
Rank: Lance Corporal Unit: Rifle Brigade1
Memorial Site: 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 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 1st East Lancashire, 1st Rifle Brigade, 1st Hampshire, 1st Somerset Light Infantry and two companies of 5th London.  In support were the other two companies of 5th London and 2nd Essex of 12 Brigade.  1st Rifle Brigade had two platoons, just over 100 men, forward at Mouse Trap Farm and so heavy was the German bombardment that within 50 minutes of its commencement the left hand platoon had been wiped out. Luckily 1st  Hampshire were able to extend their right and keep contact so that the infantry attack  that was launched by the enemy at 7am was repelled. Half an hour later, 1st East Lancashire were driven back by another German infantry attack and some of the enemy managed to get behind 1st Rifle Brigade who, in order to engage them, had their machine gunners fire over the parados, the back of the trench. Reserves moved forward and in a dashing counter attack the Germans were driven back. But the situation of 1st Rifle Brigade in the centre and left of 11 Brigade’s line grew desperate. Two further attacks were repulsed but casualties were mounting, trenches were being destroyed and in response C Company was sent forward to reinforce the line. At 11am, after a short lull the bombardment began again but after 1½ hours of further battering the German effort faded. At dusk 1st East Lancashire went forward and retook the farm without opposition but there was no trace of the two platoons of 1st Rifle Brigade who had garrisoned the farm.

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