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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: William Last Name: BARNETT
Date of Death: 27/03/1916 Lived/Born In: Pimlico
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Fusiliers4
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:


1 "U" Block, Peabody Buildings, Ebury Bridge, Pimlico

It was very cold, with snow and sleet, during the night of 26th-27th March, 1916, when 1st Northumberland Fusiliers and 4th Royal Fusiliers, both of 9 Brigade, 3rd Division, took up their positions ready to attack the salient at St. Eloi in the southern part of the Ypres. This part of the front line, which included the Mound a large heap of earth that had been excavated from the nearby canal, had long been a thorn in the flesh of the British and to capture it would bring many advantages.

At 4.15am on 27th March, 1916, 6 mines were exploded as an artillery barrage of the German positions began. 4 of the mines exploded under the German trenches, wrecking their defences, whilst the 2 outer mines were blown under no-man’s land so that the craters formed could be used as cover by the attacking troops. The men of the two battalions moved forward straight away, not even waiting the half minute required for all the debris to fall and as a result,1st Northumberland Fusiliers on the right reached their objectives with the loss of only one man. On the left, 4th Royal Fusiliers were not so successful. They were hit by a machine gun to their left whist crossing their own parapet and suffered many casualties especially among their officers. The German artillery then opened up on the British line and no-man’s land adding to the confusion. 4th Royal Fusiliers were unable to reach their objectives but they thought they had. The blowing of the mines had changed the landscape and they ended up at the wrong craters leaving a gap between themselves and 1st Northumberland Fusiliers. Nevertheless they consolidated those craters they had captured and remained there until relieved the following day. Fighting continued here for the next 6 weeks.

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