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The 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele

Published: Monday 7 August 2017

In commemoration of the 100thanniversary of the start of the Battle of Passchendaele, (31 July – 10 November 1917), we would like to commemorate the brave students, alumni and staff from Borough Road College, (a predecessor college of Brunel University London), who fought and died in this battle.

Officially known as the Third Battle of Ypres, Passchendaele became infamous for the scale of casualties.

Fought for control of the ridges south and east of the Belgian city of Ypres, the attack began on 31st July 1917. Constant shelling which churned the clay soil and smashed the drainage systems, together with the heaviest rain for 30 years, quickly turned the land into a quagmire – mud so thick and deep that men and horses drowned in it.

The German and British forces became locked in a hellish stalemate for 6 weeks, with Australian and New Zealand divisions joining the British in September. The Battle of Menin Road Ridge, (which began on 20th September), the Battle of Polygon Wood on 26th September and the Battle of Broodseinde on 4th October, established the Allies’ possession of the ridge east of Ypres.

Further attacks in October failed to make much progress, leading the British Commander Sir Douglas Haig to call on Canadian forces for help. On 6th November 1917 the Allied forces finally captured what little remained of Passchendaele village. Haig called an end to the offensive and claimed it a success.

Passchendaele village was scarcely five miles beyond the Allies starting point. Those five miles had cost 325 000 Allied and 260 000 German casualties.  The Prime Minister David Lloyd George wrote in his War Memoirs, published in 1938, "Passchendaele was indeed one of the greatest disasters of the war …”

15 Borough Road College men are believed to have died in this prolonged battle.

Harold Wilfred Asbrey

Private Harold Wilfred Asbrey attended Borough Road College 1915-1917. Asbrey fought with the 13th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment, and was killed on 13 August 1917.

Buried/Memorial: Klein-Vierstraat British Cemetery

Baker.G.A.1911.13George Arthur Baker 

Second Lieutenant George Arthur Baker attended Borough Road College 1911-1913. He enlisted into the Royal Army Medical Corps and was later commissioned into the Royal Garrison Artillery. Whilst serving, Baker was awarded the Croix de Guerre and Chevalier de la Couronne for carrying back to the lines a wounded Belgian soldier. On November 29 1917 Baker was killed, aged 25, when an enemy shell exploded near him.

Buried/Memorial: Steenkerke Memorial Cemetery




Brown.G.P.S.1906.08George Percy Stephenson Brown

Private George P. S. Brown attended Borough Road College 1906-1908.  He joined the Kings Liverpool Regiment on 2 May 1916 and went to France in November 1916. He was shot and killed by enemy aircraft on 26 September 1917.

Buried/Memorial: Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium


Denis Frederic Church

Lance Corporal Denis Frederic Church attended Borough Road College 1914-1916. He enlisted in the London Regiment and was killed on 20th September 1917 aged 22.

Buried/Memorial: Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium


Ernest Greenwood

Lance Corporal Ernest Greenwood attended Borough Road College 1912 - 1914. Greenwood joined the King’s Liverpool Regiment in February 1916. He was killed by enemy fire on 4 November 1917. His brother Albert was also killed only a week later.

Buried/Memorial: Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium


Robert Jones

Lieutenant Robert Nelson Jones attended Borough Road College for three years, graduating with a BSc in 1907. He enlisted on 5 July 1915 into the 4th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment. Jones was 30 when he was shot by a sniper on 31st July 1917.

Buried/Memorial: Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium


Austin Long

Lieutenant Austin Theodore Long attended Borough Road College 1901-1903, graduating with a BA. He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Private on 1 September 1914 but was later commissioned into the 10th Battalion Royal Scots. He was 34 when he died at Passchendaele on 22nd August 1917.

Buried/Memorial: Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium


Carl Lowther

Second Lieutenant Carl Lowther attended Borough Road College from 1898-1900. He joined the Manchester Regiment in September 1914. He was 40 when he was killed by shellfire at Steenbeck (Ypres) on 16 August 1917.

Buried/Memorial: Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium


Milnes.H.A.E.1893.94.049Herbert Milnes

Second Lieutenant Herbert Albert Edwin Milnes attended Borough Road College from 1893-1894. He became principal of Auckland Training College. He enlisted as a private in March 1916 and was later commissioned into the 3rd Battalion Auckland Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force. He was 43 when he was killed by shellfire at Otto Farm, Ypres on 4th October 1917.

Buried/Memorial: Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium


John Moore

Captain John Moore attended Borough Road College 1902-1904. He enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers on 1st September 1914 and was commissioned one year later into the 3rd Battalion Border Regiment. He was 33 when he died on 26 October 1917.

Buried/Memorial: Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium


Ross.A.1912.14Adam Ross

Private Adam Ross attended Borough Road College 1912-1914.  Ross enlisted into the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was killed on 11th September 1917, aged 24.

Buried/Memorial: Oosttaverne Wood Cemetery, Belgium


James Thompson Scott

Lieutenant James Thompson Scott attended Borough Road College 1914-16. After leaving Borough Road College he went straight into active service. Scott was wounded at Polygon Wood on 2nd October 1917 and died in hospital on 5th October 1917.

Buried/Memorial: Etaples Military Cemetery


Lewis James Stribling

Second Lieutenant Lewis James Stribling attended Borough Road College 1911-1913. Stribling enlisted in September 1914 into the Royal Engineers and rose to Corporal before his death on 13 November, aged 26.

Buried/Memorial: Menin Road South Military Cemetery


A. T. Turner

Lance Corporal A. T. Turner attended Borough Road College 1913-1915. He enlisted into the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry and was wounded in 1915. He was awarded the Military Medal for bravery. Turner died on 27 August 1917 aged 24.

Buried/Memorial: Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery


Joseph Wood

Second Lieutenant Joseph Wood attended Borough Road College 1910-1912. Wood enlisted into the North Lancashire Regiment and was later commissioned into the Sherwood Foresters. He was killed on 27 September 1917, aged 26.

Buried/Memorial:Tyne Cot Memorial


Fuller stories of these men, along with over 100 other students, alumni and members of staff who perished during WW1, are available on our website