3rd Battle of Ypres – 31st July 1917

During May 1917, the Battalion recuperated until 20th, when it travelled into Belgium towards Ypres.  They spent a period in the line and other time on fatigues preparing for the third Battle of Ypres.

Sanctuary Wood

Sanctuary Wood

Sanctuary Wood

Sanctuary Wood

The first four City Battalions reunited in attack for the first time since Montauban. On the Night of the 30th July, the troops occupied assembly trenches behind Sanctuary Wood.  At 3.50am the advance started. The Division’s objective was Polygon Wood.  The 16th and 18th Battalions formed the first phase of the assault, with the 17th and 19th Battalions forming the second wave.  The 18th Battalion succeeded in taking Stirling Castle and the 16th Battalion’s objective was carried.  The 17th Battalion pushed onwards over the infamous Menin Road. Machine guns in the Battalion’s objective in Glencourse Wood held up the advance and the assault ended as the men dug-in under a fresh enemy bombardment.  The Battalion was relieved the next morning and withdrew to Zillebeke.

CWGC Records show 32 men from 17th Battalion died on 31st July and three further men died in France by the the end of August 1917.  It’s poignant to note that only three of these casualties have Regimental Number consistent with the ‘Original’ Pals 8,000 or 9,000 sequence.  These are Privates 8096 James Cleland, 8566 George Eric Fuller and 9470 Corporal Edmund Kane.  In common with the majority of fatalities, these men have no know grave and are commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial

Distinguished Conduct Medals were awarded to Sergeant Frederick Cowman 8501 and

Private Patrick Duffy 28259.  Lance Corporal W Fearnley 9313, Private A E Hare 43344 and

Private J Murphy received Military Medals.

8596 Corporal Ernest Hawksworth was wounded at Sanctuary Wood.  For further contemporary photos see Flanders.

2 thoughts on “3rd Battle of Ypres – 31st July 1917

  1. Pingback: 8596 Corporal Ernest Hawksworth IV Platoon, A Company, 17th Battalion | 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment on the Somme

  2. Pingback: Centenary of the Somme – 9th day of July | 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment on the Somme

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