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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Frederick Arthur Last Name: MEINERT
Date of Death: 20/09/1917 Lived/Born In: Old Kent Road
Rank: Rifleman Unit: London2/6
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:


146, Coburg Road, Old Kent Road


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 four 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.

The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge. 20th-25th September, 1917

After the disappointing opening battles of the last day of July and the middle of August, when very little had been gained but at great cost in casualties, a new approach was adopted for the next offensive against the Gheluvelt plateau which began on 20th September and became known as the Battle of the Menin Road. The task was handed over to General Plumer, commander of the Second Army, a more cautious leader who, rather than try to drive as deep as possible into the German line, was an advocate of 'bite and hold' tactics with limited advances of no more than 1,500 yards, based on overwhelming firepower and exhaustive preparation. These new tactics, which were significantly aided by a period of warm, dry weather, worked well and September and early October saw a decisive phase of Third Ypres in which the British gained the upper hand. At the same time that Plumer’s Second Army were hammering away at the German defences on the Gheluvelt plateau, Fifth Army also attacked in the northern part of the Ypres salient and they too made gains.

On 20th September, 58th Division, made up of 2nd line London territorial battalions, were part of Fifth Army and as such attacked in the northern part of the battle front, with the objective of gaining a footing on the Gravenstafel and Poelcappelle spurs. At 5.40am, 174 Brigade attacked with the 2/8th London, 2/5th London and 2/6th London battalions in series. In front 2/8th London cleared the enemy strong-points at Vancouver Farm and Keerselare after which 2/5th London and 2/6th London went on to outflank Hubner Farm and capture Dimple Trench. They then swung half right which took them up the rise of the spur after which they kept to the high ground and were able to attack and deal with the enemy strong-points on the ridge from the rear. Each strong-point was allotted to a platoon or section and once it had been outflanked it was as good as captured. During their advance they captured nearly 300 Germans and 50 machine-guns and then went on to capture Wurst Farm, their objective. Outposts were established across the Stroombeek valley and when the enemy launched counter-attacks later in the day they were dispersed by artillery and machine-gun fire. This successful operation did not come without a cost and 2/6th London sustained many casualties during the course of it. One of these was Frederick Meinertearne.


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