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Ypres Town Cemetery Ypres Town Cemetery
First Name: Charles Alfred Last Name: CREAMER
Date of Death: 01/11/1914 Lived/Born In: Bayswater
Rank: Gunner Unit: Royal Garrison Artillery 1st Siege Battery
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Ypres Town Cemetery


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.

Charles Creamer was killed on 1st November, 1914, while serving with the 1st Siege Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery during the First Battle of Ypres but the exact circumstances of his death are not known. Artillery men faced many dangers and during the course of the war nearly 50,000 of them were killed. Their gun batteries were targeted by the enemy’s guns which accounted for many of their casualties. Others were sent forward to act as ‘spotters’ which meant going forward to the front line and signalling back to the guns necessary changes in target and other vital information. Keeping the batteries supplied with ammunition was a dangerous task as the enemy guns would target the known supply routes, especially at night. Battery Diaries rarely shine any light on casualties sustained, unless of course they were officers and even then information is sparse.

The Royal Garrison Artillery operated larger and less mobile guns than the Field Artillery and the Siege Batteries operated the largest guns and howitzers. These were either mounted on concrete emplacements or on railway carriages and consequently they usually remained in the same sector of the line for long periods, coming under the orders of a Heavy Artillery Group. 

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