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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: George Last Name: BRADSHAW
Date of Death: 30/10/1914 Lived/Born In: Wimbledon
Rank: Private Unit: Hussars3
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:


40, South Road, Wimbledon


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 29th to 31st October a massive concentration of German troops tried to break the British line around Gheluvelt at the eastern apex of the Ypres salient. 1st and 7th Divisions stood in their path. On the 29th October, after a day of intense fighting, often hand to hand, the British were pushed back to the Gheluvelt cross roads. The following day the Germans attacked Gheluvelt itself and although the village remained in British hands, German troops had some success further south at Zandvoorde and were now able to enfilade the British line. Then on 31st October came the main German attack and Gheluvelt fell. At one stage the it seemed that all was lost but a dramatic counter attack by 2nd Worcestershire, stabilised the line. However, the loss to the British army in man power had been enormous.

At 10.30am on 30th October the enemy attacked the trenches held by the 3rd and 2nd Cavalry Divisions to the south-east of Ypres near Hollebeke.  There was a heavy artillery bombardment of their positions but little infantry action except near Hollebeke Chateau where a squadron of 1st Dragoons fought off an attack.  By noon, the Germans had moved their big guns forward and concentrated their attack on the left of 2nd Cavalry Division.  Their main target was 3 Cavalry Brigade, just south of the canal near Hollebeke.  Trenches were blown in and pivoting on its right , 3 Cavalry Brigade wheeled back, relinquishing the village  but keeping control of the road bridge across the canal.  With no trenches dug in this new position, natural cover was sought.  This retirement brought the enemy within three miles of Ypres and allowed them to close round Hollebeke Chateau.  At 2.30pm a squadron of 1st Dragoons at Hollebeke Chateau withdrew, taking their guns and wounded with them.  Because of continuing pressure, 2nd Cavalry Division was gradually withdrawn to a prepared second line. From there 6 Cavalry Brigade continued the line along the canal to the bridge.  To the right of 2nd Cavalry Division there was heavy shelling throughout the day of the 1st Cavalry Division at Messines. George Bradshaw of the 3rd Hussars, 2nd Cavalry Division was one of the cavalry men killed on this day at Ypres.

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