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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Daniel Peter Last Name: LYONS
Date of Death: 02/11/1914 Lived/Born In: Hoxton
Rank: Rifleman Unit: King's Royal Rifle Corps1
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:



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.

Between 29th and 31st October a massive concentration of German troops tried to break the British line around Gheluvelt at the eastern apex of the Ypres salient. 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 1st November, 1914, the 1st King’s Royal Rifle Corps battalion of 6 Brigade, 2nd Division moved forward from reserve to take over part of the unstable front line which was coming under increased pressure. Along with 1st Royal Berkshire they relieved the remnants of 1st Division in a line that lay astride the Menin road just beyond the village of Hooge. From 8.30am on the following morning, 2nd November, the enemy began pushing forward along both sides of the Menin road. The two battalions, now joined by the 1st Coldstream Guards, were in an ill-prepared position consisting of shallow disconnected lengths of trench and no wire.  There was also a barricade across the road, behind which were a group of houses.  Hedges obstructed the view and the field of fire was limited by a ridge on one side and a falling slope on the other.. The barricade was soon blown away and a machine-gun of 1st King’s Royal Rifle Corps put out of action.  The Germans brought up a machine-gun to a house 100 yards in front of the British line and another one through a 60 yard gap that existed between 1st Royal Berkshire and 1st King’s Royal Rifle Corps  which opened fire at 100 yards into the backs of 1st King’s Royal Rifle Corps.  Assistance came in the form of two guns of the 116th Battery of the Royal Field Artillery, 200 yards further back but at 11am these guns had to cease fire so as not to interfere with a French attack.  This allowed the enemy, under covering fire of the machine-gun in the house, to move down the road in groups of 30 and 40.  1st Coldstream were overwhelmed and half their number were captured or killed.  The G’s then turned on 1st King’s Royal Rifle Corps, already under attack from the front and the rear.  In a final rush they were overwhelmed and nearly 450 of their number were killed or captured. Daniel Lyons was on who did not make it back.

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