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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Ernest Last Name: KIDDLE
Date of Death: 16/02/1916 Lived/Born In: Brockley
Rank: Lance Corporal Unit: Dorset6
Memorial Site: 1. Brockley, St Hilda 2. Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:

Age-28

18, Holdenby Road, Brockley

 

In the south-east of the Ypres salient  the Ypres-Comines canal crossed the front line and on its northern bank there was a large  and dominating pile of earth, which had been put here when the canal was being dug before the war. It became known, to the British, as the Bluff and it was on the British side of the line. If the Germans could capture it, it would give them a commanding view of much of the salient and the British positions and activities in and around Ypres would be compromised.

17th Division took over the front here during the first week of February, 1916, with 51 Brigade to the north of the canal, protecting the Bluff and 52 Brigade in the line south of the canal. On the morning of 14th February,  1916 the enemy began an artillery bombardment of these positions and by the afternoon the Bluff was very much their target. Communications were broken with the infantry of 51 Brigade and in the early evening, after the Germans had blown three mines under the British lines, an infantry attack was launched which resulted in the capture of the British front line and the Bluff. 50 Brigade had been in reserve during this action but moved forward the following day. The 6th Dorset battalion took up positions in Dickebusch and at 9 o’clock that evening two companies from the battalion launched a counter attack on the Bluff. As they made their way forward in the dark to the assembly point they had to pass through the enemy barrage and the actual attack itself was over sodden and unknown ground without any artillery support.  While working up the canal bank, the right hand company was heavily enfiladed at point blank range from the top of the ‘Bluff’ and all their officers became casualties Some of the other company managed to get into the German lines but could not hold it.  Without time to make proper preparations this counter-attack was doomed to failure and although the fighting continued through the night, the survivors of 6th Dorset were withdrawn at 5 o’clock the following morning and went back to Dickebusch. The battalion had suffered nearly 150 casualties one of whom was Ernest Kiddle

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