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Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium
First Name: William Last Name: SLADE
Date of Death: 16/08/1917 Lived/Born In: Richmond-upon-Thames
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Irish Fusiliers9
Memorial Site: 1. Richmond-upon-Thames Memorial 2. Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium

Current Information:

Age-25

15, Crofton Terrace, Richmond-upon-Thames

 

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.

The Battle of Langemarck

This took place between 16th-18th August, 1917 and was the second general attack of 3rd Ypres. Although it did not rain during the two days of the battle itself there had been plenty of it in the preceding days and in many places the battlefield was a quagmire. On the left of the attack in the north-west of the Ypres salient there was considerable success,  especially for the French Army which attacked on the left of the British, but the attack on the Gheluvelt Plateau, due east of Ypres, met determined German resistance and the early gains were soon reversed.

On 16th August, 1917, 36th Division attacked at 4.45am north of the Ypres-Roulers railway and had to cross a mile of open ground to their objectives, the Anzac and Zonnebeke spurs.  108 Brigade on the right attacked with the 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers and 13th Royal Irish Rifles battalions in front, 12th Royal Irish Rifles in support and 11th Royal Irish Rifles in reserve. As soon as they moved forward they were swept by machine-gun fire from two enemy strongholds at Gallipoli and Somme Farms before being stopped by a new wire entanglement. At 9am, preceded by a ‘crushing’ barrage, waves of German troops came over the crest of the Zonnebeke-St. Julien spur and within an hour, 108 Brigade had been driven back to its starting line. Among the many casualties suffered during the fighting on this day was William Slade of 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers.

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