Frederick Welch

4/7372, Private, 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment.

Died of Wounds on the 21st April 1915 aged 30.

Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium

Frederick was the son of Emma Welch and the nephew of William & Matilda Welch of Letchmore Road, Stevenage.

He arrived in France on the 3rd December 1914 and was severely wounded in the fighting around Hill 60, which is situated on a ridge overlooking the town of Ypres. The highest point of the hill is composed of excavated earth from the railway cutting that runs through the ridge. It allows an excellent view over the town and was a valuable artillery observation point.

On the 10th April 1915, after a few days rest in Reningheist, the Battalion moved to trenches opposite Hill 60. Here they assisted in preparations for an attack on the hill and these were completed by the 17th April, despite the fact that all necessary materials had to be carried by hand from the ruins of Zillebeke, under the cover of darkness. Much tunnelling had taken place prior to the attack and on the 17th April six British mines were detonated close to the German positions and the assault got underway. Initially, there was some success as the German troops were caught by surprise but this did not last very long. They quickly re-organised themselves and at midnight they made a concerted counter-attack. It was during this attack that Frederick Welch was apparently shot in the head and died of his wounds several days later. It is believed that his grave was lost during the intense shelling in the area and, as a result, he has no known grave.

His name is recorded on the Menin Gate memorial, Belgium. (Panel 31 and 33)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal.

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