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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Charles William Last Name: SMITH
Date of Death: 13/05/1915 Lived/Born In: Clapham
Rank: Private Unit: East Lancashire1
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:

Born-Battersea

Battle of Frezenberg Ridge (8 May-13 May)

In April 1915 the Germans, using gas for the first time, launched an all out attack on the salient around the Belgian town of Ypres. It became a gargantuan struggle that lasted well into the next month and at the end of it, the salient, though drastically reduced, still stood.

The name is deceptive because the Frezenberg ridge, which lay to the north-east of the town rose to only 50 metres above sea level and was one of a series of low ridges that ran in a generally westerly direction and branched off the main ridge that ran north-easterly from Kemmel to Passchendaele. Nevertheless, it gave a commanding view down on to the town of Ypres and for that reason it was strategically important.

On 13th May, 1915, in one last bid to break the British line the enemy kept up an incessant bombardment of front and back areas between 3.30am and 1pm. 11 Brigade of 4th Division were holding part of this line with two companies of 5th London, 1st East Lancashire, 1st Rifle Brigade, 1st Hampshire and 1st Somerset Light Infantry.  In support were the other two companies of 5th London and 2nd Essex of 12 Brigade.  The trenches of 5th London and 1st East Lancashire were flattened and had to be evacuated.  The gaps were immediately repaired by local supports being sent up.  Two platoons of 1st Rifle Brigade at Mouse Trap Farm were annihilated but with the help of 1st East Lancashire the Farm was re-occupied in the evening.  There followed a number of infantry attacks particularly against 1st Hampshire and 1st Somerset Light Infantry and some Germans managed to reach the British wire before being driven off with some of 11 Brigade standing on the parapet and daring the Germans to come on. 

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