09 August 2017

6 facts about the Capture of Westhoek

Thursday 10 August marked 100 years since the Capture of Westhoek in 1917. Here are 6 facts about the battle:

 The Battles of Ypres. Scottish troops wearing waterproof capes going up to the line 5th August 1917 IWM Q 2677

  • The Battle of Westhoek was the second attack of the Third Battle of Ypres – later known as Passchendaele.

  • Originally scheduled for 2 August, the attack was delayed by heavy rain that transformed the battlefield into a quagmire of mud and shell holes.

  • At 4.30am on 10 August the battle began with elements of two British Divisions advancing against the German defences on the Gulvelt Plateau, south-east of Ypres.

  • Despite terrible conditions the village of Westhoek was captured and held against tenacious German counter-attacks that drove the British back from gains further south at Inverness Copse.

  • After 24 hours of heavy fighting both sides had suffered terrible losses, mainly due to unceasing artillery fire. The British units holding the newly captured ground at Westhoek suffered 50% casualties, wounded, missing and killed.

  • Many of those who died have no known grave. The names of almost 600 servicemen who died on 10 August and have no known grave are commemorated on the CWGC Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

Photo caption: The Battles of Ypres. Scottish troops wearing waterproof capes going up to the line 5th August 1917 IWM Q 2677

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