BLAKE, John Morgan

Second Lieutenant, 1st Bn., Devonshire Regiment.

Born

June 1898.
Son of Morgan Dix Blake, Physician, and Mary Elizabeth Blake of Millhouse, Grantchester, Cambridgeshire.

Education

Blundell’s School, “Westlake”, September 1912 until Summer 1914. He entered at the age of 14 as the first “Thornton” Scholar at Blundell’s. In December 1915 he gained a Williams Exhibition for History at Balliol but entered Sandhurst in July 1916. His master at Balliol wrote “He showed great promise, being remarkably widely read for his age and yet with very good judgement and keen interest in history. He was one of the sort of men certain to get a first class in his finals… He would have been a great intellectual stimulus in the College and would, in many ways, I think have gained by it.”

The Offensive

The Salient was formed during the First Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914, 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

4th October 1917, aged 19.
Killed in action, Flanders.

Burial/Commemoration

2nd Lt Blake has no known grave so is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke,Ypres, Belgium, (Flanders). Panels 144 to 145.

Memorial

Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing forms the north eastern boundary of Tyne Cot Cemetery, 9km East of Ypres on the N332, Ypres - Zonnebeck Road. This site marks the furthest point reached by the Commonwealth forces until nearly the end of the conflict. It commemorates those of all Commonwealth nations (except New Zealand) who died in the Salient, in the case of United Kingdom casualties after 16 August 1917 and now bears the names of more than 35,000 officers and men whose graves are not known. The memorial was designed by Sir Herbert Baker with sculpture by Joseph Armitage and F V Blundstone, and unveiled by Sir Gilbert Dyett in July 1927.
The Cemetery was established around a captured German blockhouse which was used as an advanced dressing stations but the original battlefield cemetery of 343 graves was much enlarged after the armistice when bodies of soldiers were brought in from the battlefields of Passchendaele and Langemarke and is now the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the World.

Research

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - www.cwgc.org
Nationals Archives, Public Record Office, Kew: Medal Rolls: WO372/2
“The Register of Blundell's School, Part II 1882 – 1932” (1932) MAHOOD, A.S., Ed. Entry No.5534
“The Blundellian”, November 1917 p338
Cemeteries & Memorials in Belgium & Northern France (2004) Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 6/149

 

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