Published By Ben Hillidge
Battle of Menin Road. Langemark. 6 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. 20 September. 1917.
During the Battle of Menin Road the 6 Bn KSLI were engaged in the northern or left flank of the offensive at Langemarck and were deployed as support troops tasked with consolidating the ground gained by the lead wave and to form a defensive flanking guard. On 19 September at 4.00am the 6 Bn KSLI formed up in their assembly point at Alouette Farm, Puff House and Bird House. Enemy shell fire caused heavy casualties in C Coy at Bird House.
At Zero hour, 5.40am, D Coy on the right and A Coy on the left moved forward from Alouette Farm in support of the 6 Bn Oxs. & Bucks. Light Infantry and 12 Bn Rifle Brigade. C & B Coys remained in their assembly points as support troops. D coy reached White Trench where they came under heavy machine gun fire from Eagle Trench. A Coy, on the left, however was deflected to the left opening a gap which a platoon from D Coy quickly secured. Battalion HQ was then moved up to near White Mill. The leading troops had been held up so the battalion waited on new orders. D Coy also asked that the creeping barrage, which by now had moved on, be dropped back. A Coy meanwhile advanced to support the lead battalions. At this time too C & B Coys, still at Alouette Farm, came under an enemy shelling and moved forward about 100 yards to avoid the barrage.
Orders were then received to renew the attack with 6 Bn KSLI leading and timed for 6.30pm. The objective was to establish a line between Louis Farm, Eagle House and Eagle Trench. Preparations were put in hand. At 6.30pm the objectives were shelled by the British guns and 15 minutes later troops from D Coy stormed over. Machine gun fire from Louis Farm opened up on them halting the advance, the MG was soon silenced by Corporal William and a party of 15 men and the advance continued to Eagle Trench. Again they were held up by a rain of grenades, this was silenced by Captain McKim armed with a Lewis gun. With opposition suppressed D Coy got into Eagle Trench and began clearing it. Support troops then came forward and Eagle Trench was secured. They remained in this position for the next 2 days until relieved during the night of 23 September.
GOOGLE MAPS Satellite view, centres on approximate position of Alouette Farm
References & Sources WAR DIARY 6 Bn KSLI pages 71ff. HistoryKSLI
B&O 1917. Third Ypres. Battle of Menin Road. 6 Bn KSLI. 20 Sept. 1917.