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Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium
First Name: Frederick Charles Last Name: BARNES
Date of Death: 18/11/1914 Lived/Born In: Plaistow
Rank: Corporal Unit: Essex2
Memorial Site: Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium

Current Information:

Born-West Ham


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.

On 30th October, 1914, because of the desperate nature of the fighting around Ypres, all available reserves of 4th Division were ordered to move north of the Lys to assist the Cavalry Corps and the 2nd Essex battalion of 12 Brigade found themselves in trenches near Armentières where they remained until relieved on 13th November when they moved to Ploegsteert. On 14th November they relieved the 1st Hampshire battalion in trenches near Le Gheer and on 18th November, Frederick Barnes was one of six men killed when their position on the edge of Ploegsteert Wood was shelled.

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