Better weather and extensive road repairs worked in the British favour before and during the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge. Well prepared attacks and effective use of a creeping barrage meant the British succeeded in capturing most of their objectives. It was the first involvement of Australian units (1st and 2nd AIF) in the 3rd Battle of Ypres. They sustained around 5000 casualties at Menin Road Ridge.
September 20th 1917. Death of John William Brewitt, 6th Australian Infantry Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, Australian Imperial Force. He emigrated from Holme Pierepont, Notts. to farm in Australia, then enlisted with the AIF. He was wounded at the Battle of Poziéres but then re-joined his unit. He was killed at Menin Road Ridge but not posted as missing until after the Battle of Polygon Wood.
Other conflicts in the Ypres Salient
October 9th 1917, Elverdinghe: death of Gunner 113807 Charles Wightman Pike, 232nd Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, a law clerk from Walnut Grove, Radcliffe, who was married with two children. He was killed by the impact from an exploding shell while assisting a comrade to build a dug out (Information from De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour). Died at Corps XVIII main dressing station near Elverdinghe, Ypres Salient, buried Solferino Farm, Brielen, age 34.
Battle of Poelcapelle
October 9th 1917
The battle was a defensive success for the Germans who recaptured much of the ground they had previously lost. Many wounded men were stranded on the battlefield due to the appalling conditions.
October 9th 1917, West Vlaanderen. Private 146 Joseph Hull, Machine Gun Guards, was killed in action, age 27. The Guards Division, XIV Corps, attacked enemy defences in front of Houlthost Forest during the night of October 9th. The Machine Gun Guards were in two groups, detailed to give overhead fire at short range on farm buildings. All objectives were taken. Three officers were killed but there is no record of the number of casualties from other ranks.
October 10th/11th. Death of Lt. William Lisle Rockley, 10th Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment, 63rd Brigade, 37th Division, IX British Corps, 2nd Army. From July 1917, the 10th York and Lancaster Regiment fought throughout the 3rd Battle of Ypres and were present at the Battles of Pilckem Ridge, Menin Road Ridge, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcapelle and Passchendaele. At the time of his death, William Rockley was acting adjutant. He was killed instantaneously by a shell when proceeding to the lines in the company of his CO and medical officer, the latter being dangerously wounded. His father, Lisle Rockley, created Rockley Memorial Park and its adjacent cliff walk in his memory.
The 1st Battle of Passchendaele took place on October 12th and was another attempt to gain the high ground around Passchendaele. Nearly a thousand New Zealand casualties were killed, wounded or stranded in the mud.
2nd Battle of Passchendaele
October 26th – November 10th 1917