BAZALGETTE, William Thomas Arnold

Bazalgette, WTASecond Lieutenant, 1st Bn., Devonshire Regiment.

Born

May 1897.
Son of Major John Evelyn and Mabel Constance Bazalgette of “Bellona” Halsdon Rd., Exmouth, Devon.

Education

Blundell's School, entered “Junior House” in September 1906 aged 9 moving into “Old House” 1910 – 1914.
The Blundellian 1917, noted “His record at Blundell’s reminds us of his cleverness in hockey and his unpretentious good nature won him many friends.” He played in the 1st XI in 1914, sang treble in the choir 1906 – 12 and alto 1912. He attended the OTC 1912-14 going to camp in 1913 and 1914 and represented his school in the Hockey XI in 1914.

Service

He enlisted on 3rd October 1914 and became First Lieutenant in February 1915. In May joined the Cyclist’s Company of the 26th Division. In December he left France for Salonika and in Feb 1916 he became the personal ADC to Major General Mackenzie Kennedy commanding the Division and on 4th August 1916 received the permanent command of the 1st Devon’s. During his time in both France and Salonika he served alongside his father Major J. E. Bazalgette. In October he returned home from Salonika and was attached to a Devon Battalion here. Then in December he joined his battalion at the front.

The Offensive

The Ypres Salient was formed during the First Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914, when a small British Expeditionary Force succeeded in securing the town before the onset of winter, pushing the German forces back to the Passchendaele Ridge. The Second Battle of Ypres began in April 1915 when the Germans released poison gas into the Allied lines north of Ypres. This was the first time gas had been used by either side and the violence of the attack forced an Allied withdrawal and a shortening of the line of defence. There was little more significant activity on this front until 1917, when in the Third Battle of Ypres an offensive was mounted by Commonwealth forces to divert German attention from a weakened French front further south. The initial attempt in June to dislodge the Germans from the Messines Ridge was a complete success, but the main assault north-eastward, which began at the end of July, quickly became a dogged struggle against determined opposition and the rapidly deteriorating weather. The campaign finally came to a close in November with the capture of Passchendaele.

Death

9th May 1917, aged 20.
Flanders.

Burial/Commemoration

2/Lt Bazalgette has no known grave so is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium, (Flanders) Panel 21.

Memorial

The Menin Gate Memorial is situated at the eastern side of the town on the road, astride the main Menin to Courtrai (Kortrijk) Road. This site was chosen because of the hundreds of thousands of men who passed through it on their way to the battlefields. It commemorates those of all Commonwealth nations (except New Zealand) who died in the Salient, in the case of United Kingdom casualties before 16 August 1917, and now bears the names of more than 54,000 officers and men whose graves are not known. The memorial was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield with sculpture by Sir William Reid-Dick, and unveiled by Lord Plumer in July 1927.
Each night at 8 pm the traffic through the gate is stopped while members of the local Fire Brigade sound the Last Post in the roadway under the Memorial's arches. Nearby the Cloth Hall Museum has an excellent interpretation centre but apparently no research facility.

Research

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - www.cwgc.org
The National Archives, Public Records Office, Kew WO 339/22779 and Medal rolls WO 372/2
“The Register of Blundell's School, Part II 1882 – 1932” (1932) MAHOOD, A.S., Ed. Entry No.5126
“The Blundellian”, June 1917 p 306
Cemeteries & Memorials in Belgium & Northern France (2004) Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 5/58
Field visit (JEA & GRY 11.04.2006)

 

[ back to previous page ]