Battle for Bellwaarde Ridge – 24th May 1915 – 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers

24th May 2017

208 casualties from 350 men including 8 officers from a total of 13.  Precis from Sheppard’s account:

For the next tour, which was due to begin on the night of May 23rd, the regiment (9th Queen’s Royal Lancers), which could now put 350 rifles in  the line, was reinforced by remnants of other units, about  520 men of the 4th Green Howards and 5th Durham Light Infantry of the 50th Division, which had temporarily been broken up. It took over five hundred yards of the 9th Infantry brigade sector astride the Menin Road south-eastwards from Hooge; “B” Sqn (Capt Francis Grenfell VC), with 300 infantry, held the left portion, actually astride the road; “A” Sqn (Capt A.N. Edwards), with 150 of the infantry, the right portion, which included a sort of blind–alley sap running forward almost to the enemy lines; “C” Sqn (Capt R.L. Benson) was in the support line.

Here on 24th May, Whit Monday and Empire Day, the regiment underwent its greatest day of glory and sorrow of the whole war.

About 3 a.m. the Germans bombarded the British V Corps front with shell and gas and followed up with an attack by four German Divisions. The front broke to the north and south of the Ninth but in great part due to the fine resistance of the Ninth the hostile attack lost its momentum and a counter-attack during the afternoon recovered part of the lost ground.

As the Ninth withdrew on the 28th May, their Brigadier met them on the road, but dared not trust himself to speak to them. ‘Tell them,’ he told the Colonel, ‘that no words of mine can express my reverence for the Ninth.’

Amongst those killed was Capt Francis Grenfell who had been awarded the VC for gallantry in action against unbroken infantry at Andregnies, Belgium, on 24th August 1914, and for gallant conduct in assisting to save the guns of the 119th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, near Doubon the same day.

During the Ypres battles of 1915 the Ninth won 1 DSO, 2 MC, 4 DCM and 5 MM.