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Informationen zum Armeedienst

England, Vereinigtes Königreich
British Expeditionary Force
Second Lieutenant
 —  Manchester Regiment, 21st Bn. (6th City)  (Letzte bekannte Einheit)

Informationen zu Tod

Berry Cottages, Geluveld, Belgien
Im Kampf gefallen


Tyne Cot Memorial
Tafel: 120

Auszeichnungen und Orden 3

1914-15 Star
Medaille — 14/01/1919
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Punkte von Interesse 2

#1 Geburtsort
#2 Ort des Todes (ungefähr)

Meine Geschichte

Charles Critchlow served in the Manchester Regiment 21st Battalion, part of the 91st Brigade, of the 7th Division. The Division participated in the opening stage of the Second Battle of Passchendaele (26 October – 10 November 1917), the final push of the Third Battle of Ypres. The Division arrived at the end of September to take over positions in Polygon Wood, in the region of which two months of fighting had advanced the line roughly two miles from the starting positions of 31st of July.

On the 26th of October 1917 the 7th Division attacked the ruins of the village of Geluveld. The Divisionary attack was to cover the right flank of the Second Army’s front, which focused their advance on the Passchendaele ridge. Major General Shoubridge, commanding officer of the 7th Division, thought the attack to be suicidal, when he was notified of the plans. The 7th Division had already tried to capture the village twice, but their attempts had been in vain. Shoubridge’s concerns were of course of no importance to the high command and the 7th Division would launch an attack on the heights of Geluveld. Making sure the Germans were occupied at Geluveld, in order to prevent them from reinforcing the Passchendaele Ridge.

The Division advanced with two Brigades. The 20th Brigade was on the left of the Divisional front and the 91st Brigade was on the right. The attack of the 91st Brigade was carried by the 21st Manchesters in the centre, the Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey) 2nd Battalion on the left and the South Staffordshire Regiment 1st Battalion on the right; the 20th Manchesters of the 22nd Brigade were in support.

The 21st Manchesters which had to advance towards Berry Cottage, and Swagger Farm already suffered casualties, due to shelling and snipers, while they assembled between Ambrose Farm and Tower Hamlets. The Germans in Geluveld were in control of the high ground, and therefore the whole area. They had an excellent view on the surrounding land, and were in a good position to direct their artillery fire, especially because almost no cover, buildings or vegetation remained. At zero hour 5.40 a.m. the allied artillery put down a heavy barrage, behind which the troops advanced. The going was very hard, due to the boggy terrain. The small stream of the Krommebeek, which served as a prewar irrigation canal, had turned the surrounding ground in a morass, as its banks had been destroyed by the relentless shelling. Consequently the rainwater had no way out and frequently inundated the lowlands. The only dry ground, which was available, laid next to the Menin Road, which ran through the village. However this dry ground was covered by German machine guns in pill boxes just in the front of the village, within Gheluvelt Wood.

Notwithstanding the hard terrain the 1st South Staffordshires, on the right of the 21st Manchesters, made some progress towards their first objective, a mound southwest of Hamp Farm. But their advance was shielded by the ground. Elsewhere the men weren’t as lucky and had to advance over the muddy, open terrain. Without proper cover, many of them were mowed down by the German machine guns. Subsequently the advancing parties lost the pace of the barrage, which served as their only shelter from the German positions. The result was dreadful. “A” Company on the left barley made it to their own frontline positions, as they were enfiladed by machine gun fire coming from German pill boxes at Lewis House and were forced to dig in 22 minutes after the attack started. “B” Company on the right also encountered heavy resistance, coming from machine guns at Berry Cottages, checking their advance. Only thirty-five minutes after zero hour “C” Company was reduced to just four men, seeking shelter South of Lewis House.

The attack had been an utter failure. Only the 1st South Staffordshires had reached their first objective, but when they pushed on to Hamp Farm they were mowed down by the Germans. Eventually all gains were abandoned and the Division’s artillery started shelling positions in front of the troops, in order to prevent a German counterattack and cover the infantry’s retreat. Two and a half hours after the men of the 7th Division had advanced, they were back at their original frontline. The 21st Battalion lost seven officers, five officers were wounded and one was missing. In other ranks twenty-seven men were killed, 173 were wounded and 92 men went missing. Most of the men who went missing were either killed or wounded in no man’s land and sank away in the mud.

2nd Lieutenant Charles Critchlow was one of the seven officers of the 21st Battalion who lost their lives in the attack near Geluveld, while advancing towards Berry Cottage. His remains were never recovered. Probably because the Battalion had to withdraw under heavy fire, making it neigh to impossible to evacuate the wounded or the fallen from the field. He is now remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Dateien 1

Quellen 3

91 Infantry Brigade: 21 Battalion Manchester Regiment, (The National Archives, KEW (TNA), WO 95/1668/3).
Weitere Quellen
McCarthy C., , The Third Ypres Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account, (London, Arms & Armour Press, 1995), pg. 125.
Verwendete Quellen
Stedman M., Manchester Pals 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd + 23rd Battalions of Manchester Regiment: A History of the Two Manchester Brigades, (London, Leo Cooper, 1994), pg. 182-183.
Verwendete Quellen

Weitere Informationen 3