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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Samuel Last Name: MOLDOFSKY
Date of Death: 09/08/1917 Lived/Born In: Aldgate
Rank: Rifleman Unit: Rifle Brigade11
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:



Third Battle of Ypres

This was a campaign fought between July and November 1917 and is often referred to as the Battle of Passchendaele, a village to the north-east of Ypres which was finally captured in November. It was an attempt by the British to break out of the Ypres salient and capture the higher ground to the south and the east from which the enemy had been able to dominate the salient. It began well but two important factors weighed against them. First was the weather. The summer of 1917 turned out to be one of the the wettest on record and soon the battlefield was reduced to a morass of mud which made progress very difficult, if not impossible in places. The second was the defensive arrangements of concrete blockhouses and machine gun posts providing inter-locking fire that the Germans had constructed and which were extremely difficult and costly to counter. For 4 months this epic struggle continued by the end of which the salient had been greatly expanded in size but the vital break out had not been achieved.

20th Division had not been directly involved in the opening offensive of 3rd Ypres (The Battle of Pilckem Ridge)  which was fought from 31st July, until 2nd August when gains had been made but at a tremendous cost in casualties. Nevertheless the campaign in the salient continued and the British Army prepared for their second offensive to start two weeks later. Fresh divisions were brought into the line one of which was 20th Division which, on 6th August, relieved 38th Division in the north west sector of the salient, facing the village of Langemarck. On the evening of 7th August, the 11th Rifle Brigade battalion of 59 Brigade moved into the front line here in a series of isolated trenches between the Steenbeek, a small stream, and Iron Cross. Over the next two days until they were relieved, there was  a considerable amount of shelling of their positions as they tried to establish posts east of the Steenbeek with little success. Samuel Moldofsky was killed on 9th August.

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