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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Victor H Last Name: YOUNG
Date of Death: 23/04/1915 Lived/Born In: Neasden
Rank: Private Unit: London9
Memorial Site: 1. Neasden, St Catherine Memorial 2. Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:

Born-Chiswick

 

The Battle of Gravenstafel Ridge (22–23 April 1915)

In the late afternoon of 22nd April an unfamiliar green cloud was seen to rise from the German trenches on the northern part of the Ypres salient, held by two French divisions. The Germans had used poison gas on the Western Front for the first time. It was chlorine gas and this destroys moist tissues such as lungs and eyes. The French troops in the path of the gas cloud suffered 6,000 casualties, many of whom died within ten minutes. Many others were blinded. Not surprisingly the French line broke leaving a 4 mile gap into which the German soldiers advanced. Desperate defending by Canadian troops prevented a complete German breakthrough but nevertheless a lot of ground was lost including Langemarck and Pilckem and the Ypres salient became even smaller. Two British divisions, the 27th and the 28th  were holding the line nearby and they sent their reserves to try to stem the German tide. Although this action was given the name of the Battle of Gravenstafel Ridge, it was actually fought further to the west in the region of Koorslaere and to the west of St Julien.

13 Brigade, 5th Division had been fighting their own desperate battle further south in the Ypres salient at Hill 60 when, on the morning of 23rd April they were ordered to move north-east to support the hard pressed troops of 27th and 28th Divisions. The situation was confused. No one was quite sure how big the gap in the British lines was nor how far the Germans had advanced, but it was imperative that the breach was closed and that the Germans were pushed back. With this as their objective, 13 Brigade, along with other units, were ordered to counter attack. That afternoon they marched under shell fire to reach their starting off point near St. Jean. At 4.25pm 13 Brigade launched their attack with 1st Royal West Kent and 2nd  Scottish Borderers leading.  2nd Yorkshire Light Infantry were in support and 9th London in reserve. The attack made very little progress but at great cost in casualties. 9th London were not directly involved in the operation on 23rd April and the casualties they sustained, which included Victor Young,  were most likely to have been from shell fire, 

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