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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Samuel Last Name: DEAN
Date of Death: 24/10/1914 Lived/Born In: St. Luke's
Rank: Private Unit: Northamptonshire1
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:



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.

From 21st October to 24th October 7th Division, in their position east of Ypres were repeatedly attacked by the numerically superior Germans, whilst 1st and 2nd Divisions were similarly assaulted to the north-east of Ypres around Langemarck. This was the old regular British army at its fighting best and the German offensive failed to break through, but the cost was high.

On 22nd October, a  German attack in the afternoon against 1st Division was unsuccessful except in the centre where 1st Cameron Highlanders were in a rough semi circle north of the Kortekeer Cabaret. The 1st Northamptonshire battalion of 2 Brigade, 1st Division was sent up from divisional reserve to fill the gap on the left between 1st Cameron Higlanders and 1st Scots Guards but by the time they arrived, 1st Scots Guards had managed to fill the gap by extending their right.  1st Northamptonshire then attempted to retake the Cabaret and the lost trenches.  One company got close but over unknown ground in the dark it proved an impossible task. They remained in these trenches dealing with attack after attack and a constant artillery bombardment until relieved by French troops on the evening of 24th October. One of their casualties during their stay here was Samuel Dean who was killed on 24th October.

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