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JimSmithson

April 1917 Around Arras

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JimSmithson

Hi everyone

I was lucky to be able to spend a long weekend in France, one of the days taking in the area fought over during April 1917 and visited very little. If the following photographs instil a little more interest in the area I will be very pleased as it is, in many ways, my adopted place. If knowledgeable Pals out their want to add their information (and photos) to the thread I am sure that those in the UK not able to visit will enjoy the journey even more.

I started in St Martin-sur-Cojeul at the St Martin Calvaire cemetery

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JimSmithson

I then moved over to the nearby Cojeul British Cemetery.

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This cemetery has additional interests of a special memorial to the 64th Brigade of 21st Division and 2 VC burials. A thread in 2006 on the memorial reported that the inscription in 1998 was unreadable but although it will not show on the photo it can now be read.

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JimSmithson

The photo came out better than I thought, the inscription can be read.

Here are the two VC burials. I am sure there is plenty of information out there on these two for me not to have to repeat it here.

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JimSmithson

I then drove around to park next to Cherisy Rd East.

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This is a lovely little cemetery with the unusual layout making it look like a trench burial but with 2 names on almost all stones, in spite of some space between them. I'm sure someone out there has details on this.

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JimSmithson

Walking on from Cherisy Rd East you find on the left the delightful setting for Rookery cemetery.

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This is one of my favourite places for spending some time and remembering those of April '17 and later who died in this area. Not this day though as it decided to rain on me.

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JimSmithson

Further along the main lane and it becomes sunken and off to the right you find Cuckoo Passage Cemetery. This is a place of homage for Manchester folk as most of the men here are from the Manchester Regiment. This, and Rookery are real battlefield cemeteries, short lived in usage and very evocative of the moment.

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Note the sun is now shining - it was that sort of day! There is also a small personal memorial just outside the cemetery.

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JimSmithson

The 23rd April runs as a theme through most of this journey, so many names have that date in all the cemeteries of the area. A final photo tonight is a special request from Mo that she demonstrates the correct place for a dog on such a trip (she was born in Manchester so Cuckoo Passage was especially emotional for her. Really shows doesn't it! :P )

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A few more when I get time, if people are not bored by my wanderings yet

Jim

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59165

No mate. :D Brill photos.

Carry on & also,will you be in France any time during the last 2 weeks of August?

Dave.

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fritz

Hello Jim,

nice pics as ever.

Kind regards

Fritz

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Sir Cliff

Jim,

I' m impressed with the photos you posted.

Excellent.

I have not been here yet but I will put in on

my list for our next tour.

Regards,

Sir Cliff

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JimSmithson

I can thoroughly recommend the trip Sir Cliff. I will be in the house near Arras approx 30th July till 23rd August so looks like a possible meet in the first of your weeks. Would be delighted!

Meanwhile - found this I took of Cuckoo from down the valley a little - the ground over which many of the Manchester lads must have fought.

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JimSmithson

I then walked around to Bootham Cemetery. This is a trench cemetery if ever I saw one and with only 2 regiments represented as can be seen on the accompanying photo of 2 graves. One set from the 14th April and another from 23rd.

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JimSmithson

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JimSmithson

I then stopped at Heninel Communal cemetery, another sad tale of the 23rd April attacks.

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This just caught my eye as a lovely shot for a photo.

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JimSmithson

Next up was the large cemetery in Wancourt. I'd been here in the past but that was before I knew the area a little better. It always looks nice at this time of year with roses being the main plant.

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JimSmithson

These next shots are for our Canadian Pals, the pink rose area being their lads with one who was obviously proud of the French part of being French-Canadian.

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JimSmithson

Getting towards the end of a good day despite the odd shower found Guemappe Cemetery.

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One of the inscriptions caught my eye. I suppose this was an Englishman in the Seaforth Highlanders or was the phrase great irony?

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Finally to Tank Cemetery to make my link with Monchy on the other side of the main road and my main target this weekend.

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JimSmithson

This view from Tank is towards Guemappe and was a fiercely fought over piece of real estate during April and May 1917.

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Mo was tired now, old girl that she is so had to go home. I wasn't tired at all ;)

Jim

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Sir Cliff

Hello Jim,

Thank you for your invitation. However I will not be in France on your given dates.

Me and my Shadows tour the Western Front twice a year. In May the Somme and surroundings

and in October Ypres.

So maybe next year there is a possibility we can meet. I' m sure my Shadows would appreciate it too.

With the additional photos my admiration for you grows more and more. Good compositions, sharp and informative.

Do you use a DSLR?

Best regards,

Sir Cliff

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JimSmithson

The dates I mentioned were for Dave (59165), didn't make that clear on the post; but of course Sir Cliff it would be great to meet up some other time. Thanks for the compliment, down to a very nice school DSLR that I borrow on every occasion I can. My purse strings don't stretch that far!

I am going to be adding some photos to a Monchy le Preux thread started by Dave (59165) as soon as I can, so watch out for those if you have any interests in the area.

Jim

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JimSmithson

Looking through my photos realised that I went back onto the Wancourt Tower area the day after and took some photos of the machine gun bunker remains there, plus the view back to Heninen, Wancourt and beyond that this position had. Read any of the accounts of April 17 and they will talk of being under fire form Wancourt Tower area - you can see why.

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Must go back in winter when the foliage is not there for some better shots.

Jim

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Paul Reed

Some great photos there - nice to see people going to these rarely visited places.

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JimSmithson

There are a few of us who champion the area Paul - we keep trying! :) My aim is to have it firmly in the vision of Pals out there before we get near the centenary. On the other hand it is nice to be away from the crowds. I was on the Somme Saturday and around Monchy Le Preux Sunday. The difference was amazing.

Jim

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Malte Znaniecki

Thank you all for these superb photographs

PLEASE GO ON POSTING THEM

Malte

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Fred van Woerkom

Jim (and Dave)

Please post some pictures of Monchy. I'd be most grateful.

Is the BE book on M-le-P still available?

All the best,

Fred

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