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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Albert Henry Last Name: CATLING
Date of Death: 25/10/1914 Lived/Born In: Wimbledon
Rank: Private Unit: Coldstream Guards1
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:


120, Pelham 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 21st to 24th October, 1914, I Corps of the British Army, made up of 1st, 2nd and 7th Divisions fought a fierce battle against a much larger German force around the village of Langemarck, north-east of Ypres.  At one stage the enemy broke the British line and captured the area around the Kortekeer Cabaret, but it was soon recaptured in a counter attack. The 1st Coldstream Guards of 1 Brigade, 1st Division, played their part in this struggle before being relieved by French troops at 7am on 25th October and moving  to billets at Kleine Zillebeke. Among their casualties was Albert Catling who, according to the records was killed in action on 25th October, the day the battalion was relieved. It is quite possible however that he was killed at some stage during the fighting of the previous three days and that his death was not recorded until they had moved back from the action and it was possible to take stock. The Battalion Diary does not shed any light on the matter.

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