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deze plaque herdenkt William Leggett, de eerste Australier die sneuvelde in de strijd om Ieper (+ 14.10.1914)

 William Thomas Leggett    (26.01.1891 - + 14.10.1914)

 nr. 2880 Corporal of Horse, C Squadron, 1st Life Guards

William Leggett is believed to be the first Australian killed in action in the defence of Ypres during the First World War. He died on 14 October 1914 during a brief skirmish with German troops occupying Geluwe. Leggett was serving with the British in the 1st Life Guards (7th British Cavalry Brigade).

Leggett was born in 1891 at Lithgow, New South Wales. Later he lived in Goulburn, and in 1912 travelled via Sydney to England to join the King's Life Guards, where he rose to the rank of Corporal of Horse.  

The skirmish at Geluwe occurred five days before the First Battle of Ypres, which lasted until 22 November 1914. At this point the fluid troop movements of previous wars was over and four long years of terrible, static, trench warfare ensued.

From 1914 until 14 October 1918 the village of Geluwe remained in German hands. It was one of the first captured villages to remain inhabited by civilians behind the Ypres Salient and was used as a billet for German troops. Geluwe was completely destroyed during the Third Battle of Ypres (1917) and the Flanders Offensive (1918) but was totally rebuilt post-war.


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