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The Battle of Frezenberg

The Battle of Frezenberg

The Battle of Frezenberg

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Many of you will know as well as my passion for the English countryside and my photography I have an equal passion for military history, which has extended to a dedicated battlefield tour business (www.mlbft.co.uk) so imagine my delight when commissioned to photograph the centennial anniversary of the Battle of Frezenberg in Belgium.

I had long known of the Battle of Frezenberg, or Frezenberg Ridge, along with The Leicestershire Yeomanry.  But despite having walked the ridge in the past I had never researched the battle in detail and the effects it had on the wider military campaigns of May 1915 so during my visit to Ypres I fully enjoyed learning more.

As a brief history, after receiving orders to move forward into the line in the late afternoon of 12th May 1915; the Yeomanry led the column in the dis-mounted infantry role. By the early hours of the following morning, The Yeomanry were in the line with two squadrons of men forward in very shallow trenches on Frezenberg Ridge.

But soon after their arrival, the Germans started a relentless artillery bombardment on their positions, determined to take further advantage of their recent gains.  This was the Leicestershire Yeomanry’s first taste of warfare in the front line trenches.
By late morning on 13th May 1915 the Commanding Officer, his Regiment Sergeant Major and two Squadron Leaders were dead.  As reported by Arthur Conan Doyle it was a most murderous affair and the Leicestershire Yeomanry were only driven from their trenches when the trenches themselves were blasted to pieces.
He went on to add that it is doubtful if any other Regiment could have endured so much in such a short period of time.  Of the 282 officers and men who went into the line that evening, some 94 were killed and a further 88 injured when they withdrew less than twenty-four hours later.
This year during the two-day event The Leicestershire Yeomanry were remembered by the Leicester based Squadron of The Royal Yeomanry, with the dedication of a new memorial stone on the site of the battle.  Followed by a battlefield tour and the laying of a poppy cross on all the known and unknown graves of Leicester Yeomanry soldiers and officers and finally, participation in the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres.

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