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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: John Last Name: HOWARD
Date of Death: 02/05/1915 Lived/Born In: Hammersmith
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Lancaster1
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:


10 A Block, Guinness Building, Hammersmith

Battle of St Julien, 24 April – 4 May 1915

Spurred on by the success of their gas attack on 22nd April, the Germans struck again two days later on the northern sector of the Ypres salient at St. Julien.  Once more chlorine gas was used and despite a resolute defence the British and Canadians were pushed back and St Julien was lost. For nearly 2 weeks the fighting continued on this front. The Germans persisted with their attacks, the British fought desperate rear guard actions and launched many counter attacks but gradually they were pushed further and further back. Eventually, during the night of 3rd & 4th May the British forces were withdrawn from their forward positions and took up a new defensive line closer to Ypres.

4th Division had spent the winter holding the line at Ploegsteert, but on 24th April 1915, they were rushed north to Ypres at short notice, to reinforce the hard pressed defenders facing the German gas attacks there. On 2nd  May all three  brigades of 4th Division were  holding the northern and critical face of the Ypres salient from Berlin Wood to Turco Farm. At noon the enemy opened up a  violent bombardment and at  4pm gas shells began falling on the British lines Half an hour later gas was released on a three mile front across a no-man’s-land that was 100-150 yards wide and in its wake came the inevitable infantry attack. The gas took 2-3 minutes to reach the British line and then 15 minutes to pass over. 1st Royal Lancaster, 12 Brigade were one of the battalions in the line and when some of 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers and 2nd Essex, on either side of them were driven back from their trenches, 1st Royal Lancaster in the centre held off the attack. One of their listening posts in a farmhouse was captured by the Germans but was later  recaptured. The reserves moved up and the German attack was contained. 

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