Remembered Today:

mike050443

Exactly 100 years ago today - The Battle of the Dunes

10 posts in this topic

100 YEARS AGO - TODAY

 

Michael Whitaker added 7 new photos.

On this day 10 July, exactly 100 years ago my grandfather fought in a little remembered engagement known as The Battle of the Dunes. He was 29 years old and one of about 508 (OR's = other ranks) in the 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment. To the left of them were a similar number of the men of the 2nd Battalion Kings Royal Rifle Corps and to their left was the English Channel (The North Sea). In other words they were at the end of the trench system that extended from the English Channel to the Swiss Border. 
They had been moved up to the front line on the east side of the Yser Canal on the 8th and 9th July and were entrenched in the sand dunes where they were to be part of 'Operation Hush'. The German forces were well aware of the movements and had prepared before an operation that they called 'Strandfest' (Beach Party). This was summer time and the German attack started with a bombardment at 5.30 am and continued more or less continually until about 8.30 pm that evening (still daylight or dusk). This was the first time that the method of the German bombardment used became known as a 'creeping barrage', in other words the range of the guns altered and moved forward, with the intent to obliterate any resistance. The breastworks on the British side were only 7 ft (2.1 m) high and 3 ft (0.91 m) thick and collapsed immediately. Sand clogged the defenders' rifles and machine-guns and the Germans used Yellow Cross (mustard gas) and Blue Cross gas shells for the first time, mainly for counter-battery fire, which reduced the British artillery to a "feeble" reply. This was also the first time that the German attack used troops of special Flammenwerfer (Flame-thrower corps) to 'mop up' the remaining pockets of resistance. The three pontoon bridges across the canal were destroyed earlier during the bombardments effectively trapping any troops on the east side of the Yser canal.
At some time during the day William Ernest Whitaker took a bullet in his left arm and under cover of darkness, along with another 8 'survivors' they swam back across the canal and managed to reach their own lines. Of the 528 men (officers and other ranks) of the 1st Battalion Northants Regiment only 9 men got back safely on this day and the other troops were either captured or had been killed. The KRRC suffered almost identical casualties. The engagement actually started a few days before and continued sporadically a few days after this but this day became known as a disaster as two regiments had been decimated so much.
Grandad must have been treated at a front line medical station and probably did get back to England later, and was then returned to the front lines again and was wounded a second time at the battles around Cambrin/Givenchy-les-la-Bassee, on 11 June 1918 this time in the neck.

 

He survived.

PROUDLY, My Grandfather, 100 YEARS AGO TODAY, NOT FORGOTTEN!

 

And with many, many thanks to all the GREAT WAR FORUM fundis who have contributed and volunteered their time and expertise (and photographs) to my knowledge of this ‘engagement’ and to my own grand-fathers part in it., and with grateful, special thanks to Stebie, the acknowledged Northamptonshire ‘go-to’ expert.

 

01.jpg

02.jpg

03.jpg

04.jpg

05.jpg

06.jpg

07.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mike - thanks for this (and for sharing the letter, which is lovely). Interestingly, today's Telegraph has an In Memoriam ("Their name Liveth for Evermore) Private John Collier, MGC, who died in the action.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:poppy: Remembering your grandfather and all the other men who died in the Battle of the Dunes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Remembering Second Lieutenant Eric Manger, 2nd Co.Machine Gun Corps Infantry who was Killed in Action at the Battle of the Dunes 10th July, 1917. Age 19.

 

Eric was educated at Kent County School, Beckenham, Kent and the Strand School, Brixton, S.W.; he enlisted in April 1916 in the HAC and was commissioned into the Machine Gun Corps on 26/1/17.

He was at first reported 'wounded and missing' on 10/7/16 following the action at Nieuport, but was later confirmed as having been killed in action on the day.  A letter received from Major Angill, commanding 2nd Co MGC states: "I have only one bit of information and this is from a Sergeant in the Infantry who says: "I saw a Machine Gun Officer holding up a number of Germans who had surrounded him.  He must have shot five or six of them with his revolver when he picked up a rifle and charged at them with the butt end."  I have two officers missing and this could have been either of them."

 

It was later confirmed that the other officer, 2nd Lieut Harold Baker, was a prisoner of war in Heidelberg in Germany.  He wrote a letter stating: "After I was taken prisoner I met the section Sergeant of Mr Manger's section, Sergeant Avis at Bruges on July 12th, who also informed me that Lieut Manger was shot during the German assault while fighting at close quarters."

 

God rest his gallant soul.

 

RIP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Remembering all those who took part in the battle especially the officers and men of the 2/KRRC my grandfathers battalion which also lost heavily (my grandfather was not there as he had been wounded on the Somme in late 1916 and eventually transferred to the Labour Corps see my signature).

 

Remembered always :poppy:

 

Keith Iles

 

 

5969c6e24bcb3_siteofactionby2Bnkrrcbattleofthedunesneuiport.jpg.f617867601dd7dea6da9887df9526569.jpg

 

Site of the Battle of the Dunes taken in 2012 from the top of the memorial to King Albert at Neuiport Baines looking across to the sea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/07/2017 at 10:57, mike050443 said:

He survived.

PROUDLY, My Grandfather, 100 YEARS AGO TODAY, NOT FORGOTTEN!

 

Great presentation of a truly awful battle.

The note is particularly thought provoking.

 

If I am reading it right

Jim would be,or have been, 100 today 15th July 2017 )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pictures taken during the centenary remembrance service at the Nieuwpoort British memorial on Monday 10th July 2017. Those marking their respects included family members, the mayor of Nieuwpoort, representatives of the British and Australian embassies and a number of organisations such as the Belgian branch of British Torch of Remembrance.

 

I was there with my wife to remember those who died and my great uncle rifleman Arthur George 2/KRRC who was taken prisoner but died in captivity.

 

Regards

 

Martin

 

 

IMG_1586.JPG

DSC_7585.JPG

IMG_1605.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lovely

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many thanks for the pictures.

 

Neil

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice photo's Martin thanks, you never know our grandfathers may have known each other

 

Regards Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now