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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Henry Ernest Last Name: LAWRENCE
Date of Death: 28/10/1914 Lived/Born In: Ealing
Rank: Private Unit: Royal West Surrey (Queens)2
Memorial Site: 1. Ealing Memorial 2. Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:


30, Williams Road, West Ealing


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 21st October until the end of the month, 7th Division, which included the 2nd Royal West Surrey (Queens) battalion of 22 Brigade were heavily involved in the fight for Ypres. Early in the morning of 28th October, the day on which Henry Lawrence was killed, they left their trenches in Kruisecke and marched through Zandvoorde to Klein Zillebeke which they reached at dawn and where they bivouacked in a wood beside the road. 2nd Queens suffered 13 casualties on this day but the battalion diary gives no further information. The likelihood is that they were as a result of shell fire.

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