Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry Battles and Charles’ death

Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry Battles

August 1914 : in Ireland. Part of 14th Brigade, 5th Division 12 January 1916 : transferred to 95th Brigade, 5th Division

Summary history of the 5th Division

When war was declared in August 1914, this regular army Division was in barracks in Ireland. It moved immediately to France, following pre-war planning. The men of the original units were amongst the first to see action, at Mons on 23 August 1914.

The Battle of Monsand The Action of Elouges
The Battle of Le Cateauand the Affair of Crepy en Valois
The Battle of the Marne
The Battle of the Aisne
The Battle of La Bassee
The Battle of Messines 1914
First Battle of Ypres
Capture of Hill 60
The Second Battle of Ypres (13th Brigade)

In late 1915, many units were switched for those of 32nd Division, a newly arrived volunteer formation. The idea was to strengthen – “stiffen” in the jargon of the time – the inexperienced Division by mixing in some regular army troops – even though by now many of the pre-war regulars had gone and the “regular” battalions themselves were often largely composed of new recruits.

It is at his point that it is believe that Charles joined his unit.
March 1916 saw a move, with 5th Division taking over a section of front line between St Laurent Blangy and the southern edge of Vimy Ridge, in front of Arras. This was a lively time, with many trench raids, sniping and mining activities in the front lines.

When the Franco-British offensive opened on the Somme on 1 July 1916, the 5th Division was enjoying a period of rest and re-fit, in GHQ Reserve. However, this restful time was not destined to last for a move began towards the battle.

The Attacks on High Wood (second phase of the Battle of the Somme)
The Battle of Guillemont (fourth phase)
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette (sixth phase)
The Battle of Morval (seventh phase)
The Battle of Le Transloy (eighth)

By 5 October, 5th Division had left the Somme and was now holding a quieter line near Festubert. There was a constant threat from enemy artillery and sniper fire, but in comparison with the Somme it was a relatively tranquil period that lasted until March 1917.
The Battle of Vimy (first phase of the ArrasOffensive)
The Attack on La Coulotte (second phase)
The Third Battle of the Scarpe (fourth phase)This action included the capture by the Division of Oppy Wood.

On 7 September 1917, the Division was relieved and moved out of the line for a period, being sent next to join the great offensive in Flanders, which is officially called the Third Battle of Ypres but is perhaps better known as Passchendaele.
The Battle of the Polygon Wood (fourth phase of the Third Battle of Ypres)
The Battle of Broodseinde (fifth phase)
The Battle of Poelcapelle (sixth phase)
The Second Battle of Passchendaele (eighth phase)

Charles would  not have been in all the battles listed that the 5th Division fought, however the battles affected all the troops on the fighting front.

Charles was killed on 9th November 1917

Quote –  2nd Battle of Passchendale 26th Oct – 11 Nov 1917  – 1st Bn DCLI  was held in reserve until 5th Nov when it moved up to the front, for the attack on Polderhoek Chateau. Despite valiant efforts and heavy shelling together with machine gun fire all movements came to a halt. That afternoon it was ordered to pull back.

Battalion strength after a few hours fighting – Start 16 Officers 300 other ranks.

Reduced to 5 Officers 177 Other ranks.    End of Quote.

Charles Fry was awarded the Victory Medal – British War Medal.  His family would have had his medals, his name and number engraved on the rim, also the bronze plaque (known as Dead Man’s Penny).

Charles would have endured a living hell in the months prior to his death and he did well to survive as long as he did.



Country: Belgium
Locality: unspecified
Visiting Information: There is a sign situated at the main entrance of this cemetery for wheelchair access. Follow the sign to the right, around the length of the front wall and turn left at the end. The entrance for wheelchair users is located halfway down.
Location Information: Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery is located 12 kilometres west of Ieper town centre, on the Boescheepseweg, a road leading from the N308 connecting Ieper to Poperinge. From Ieper town centre the Poperingseweg (N308) is reached via Elverdingsestraat, then over two small roundabouts in the J. Capronstraat. The Poperingseweg is a continuation of the J. Capronstraat and begins after a prominent railway level crossing. On reaching Poperinge, the N308 joins the left hand turning onto the R33, Poperinge ring road. The R33 ring continues to the left hand junction with the N38 Frans- Vlaanderenweg. 800 metres along the N38 lies the left hand turning onto Lenestraat. The next immediate right hand turning leads onto Boescheepseweg. The cemetery itself is located 2 kilometres along Boescheepseweg on the right hand side of the road.
Historical Information: During the First World War, the village of Lijssenthoek was situated on the main communication line between the Allied military bases in the rear and the Ypres battlefields. Close to the Front, but out of the extreme range of most German field artillery, it became a natural place to establish casualty clearing stations. The cemetery was first used by the French 15th Hospital D’Evacuation and in June 1915, it began to be used by casualty clearing stations of the Commonwealth forces. From April to August 1918, the casualty clearing stations fell back before the German advance and field ambulances (including a French ambulance) took their places. The cemetery contains 9,901 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and 883 war graves of other nationalities, mostly French and German. The only concentration burials are 24 added to Plot XXXI in 1920 from isolated positions near Poperinghe and 17 added to Plot XXXII from St. Denijs Churchyard in 1981. It is the second largest Commonwealth cemetery in Belgium. There are 5 Special Memorial headstones to men known to be buried in this cemetery, these are located together alongside Plot 32 near the Stone of Remembrance. The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.
No. of Identified Casualties: 10753

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