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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Alfred Last Name: MARTIN
Date of Death: 19/10/1914 Lived/Born In: Whitechapel
Rank: Sergeant Unit: Royal Welsh Fusiliers1
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.

By the middle of October, 1914, 7th Division was in the Ypres area and preparing to advance on Menin from Zonnebeke.  On 19th October this advance began with 22 Brigade on the right opposite Dadizeele. By midday, with the 1st Royal Welsh Fusiliers battalion leading, 22 Brigade had pushed on and were within striking distance of the German trenches south of Kezelberg, 2000 yards south-east of Dadizeele. The left of 22 Brigade was then hit by heavy artillery fire and at 1.05 pm received orders from Corps HQ to abandon the attack on Menin.  22 Brigade had to swing back and face east with its right on Terhand and its left on Moorslede which they carried out successfully by 4 pm.  1st Royal Welsh Fusiliers suffered half of 7th Division’s 200 casualties on this day one of whom was Alfred Martin.

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