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Bethune Town Cemetery, France Bethune Town Cemetery, France
First Name: John Last Name: BODDY
Date of Death: 08/11/1914 Lived/Born In: London
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Fusiliers4
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Bethune 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.


Although the Battle of Gheluvelt ended on the 31st October, there was still some bitter fighting over the next few days for those British soldiers who held the line in the Ypres salient as the Germans continued to attack. On 6th November 4th Royal Fusiliers, 9 Brigade, 3rd Division, moved north to the Ypres salient and took over positions from 6 Cavalry Brigade, east of Hooge on the south side of the Ypres-Menin road on the edge of Herenthage Wood.  On 8th  November the only serious attack of the day was made just north of the Menin Road against the woods in front of Veldhoek chateau.  The trees and the rhododendrons in the chateau grounds provided good cover.  The front was held by a French battalion, 1st Loyal North Lancashire and 1st Scots Guards.  At 12.45 pm The French and 1st Loyal North Lancashire fell back after heavy shelling, exposing the flank of 4th Royal Fusiliers in position south of the road.  1st Scots Guards held on and the two reserve companies of 1st Loyal North Lancashire behind the chateau, immediately counter attacked.  The French joined in as did the reserve company of 1st Scots Guards, two companies of 2nd West Riding and “Y” Company of 4th Royal Fusiliers. “Y” Company got to the German trenches but few came back. Over 60 men were seen no more but their action helped the eventual restoration of the line as the Germans were driven from the wood. Private Boddy died of wounds on this day and he could have been wounded on an earlier date.


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