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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Wallace Frederick Last Name: HANCOCK
Date of Death: 09/05/1915 Lived/Born In: Merton
Rank: Private Unit: Gloucestershire2
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:

Age-18

8, Shelton Road, Merton Park

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 8th  May, 1915 at dawn there was a violent bombardment on the front held by 28th Division and 27th Division on the Frezenberg Ridge. The full fury of the bombardment lasted for four hours. Parapets were flattened and trenches destroyed.  81 Brigade were hit by terrific shell fire from 6.45-11am  and an hour later the shelling started again resulting in heavy casualties for the forward companies of 2nd Gloucestershire. The following day, 9th May, was one of bitter fighting for 2nd Gloucestershire. 27th Division took the brunt of the continuing  bombardment on their front from Zwarteleen to the Ypres-Zonnebeke railway and a whole platoon were killed in their advanced flanking trench in the form of an arrow head opposite Stirling Castle.  The enemy then occupied this ground and counter attacks by 2nd Gloucestershire were unsuccessful in regaining them, only adding further to their casualty list. Some time after midnight, 2nd Gloucestershire were relieved and moved to reserve trenches east of Ypres.

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