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Need Mouquet Farm 3D Relief Map; The Quarry


Gamburd
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I had a request and then two questions about Mouquet Farm:

1) I have been reading the Charles Beans' Official History of the Battle of Mouquet Farm which took place during August and the beginning of September 1916, at the Somme.

Bean states:

The next operation was to be the capture, or the surrounding, of Mouquet Farm. The order was issued by Reserve Army on August 13th. As the farm lay on a small knuckle between the branches of a Y-shaped valley and its garrison could render impossible the crossing of the valley lower down, it was judged advisable that in the forthcoming operAtion no such advance should be attempted by the British left.

When the farm was captured, the British would bring up their line on the left, where the concavity was now pronounced.

A method of attacking Mouquet Farm had on August 12th been suggested by General White (wth th authority of General Birdwood) in a letter to General Cox.

The farm did not lie quite on the crest, which ran past it about 500 yards to the east.

On that crest the German main position appeared to be the Fabeck Graben.

(Bean, Official History of the A.I.F., p. 759)

I was wondering if anyone might have a 3d Relief type map of the Mouquet Farm area during WWI to help me visualize this ??

Maybe sort of like this one of Polygon Wood that was at an Australian Government website:

3D Relief map of Polygon wood, Belgium:

http://blog.awm.gov.au/1917/wp-content/upl...elief-map-1.jpg

Bean does describe the topography of the area as best as a written description can do, but my imagination can only go so far, and I was wondering if anyone has anything more visual, maybe even possibly some modern aerial shots.

I have seen aerial photographs contemporary with the battle, but those are not really helping me out.

I have seen some modern photos, and it sort of looks like, today, that the Mouquet Farm is on the flat top of a rising slope (I haven't visited the Somme).

This looks like the road behind Ration Trench on Bean's map, with a bend then running in a straight line past the eastern edge of Mouquet Farm; that's about as good a photo I've seen showing maybe what the landscape may have looked like:

th_ThiepvalLeftGrandeFermeonRightmouqu.j

th_MouquetFarmAugust261916003.jpg

2) Bean mentions a Quarry, roughly about 300 yards southwest of the Mouquet Farm; does the Quarry still exist today??

3) Also, someone mentioned on a recent Thread about Mouquet Farm, that the orginal Mouquet Farm today would have stood about 20 feet to the eastern (across a small path) from where it stands today.

OK, now I have seen a Researcher on the web state, according to him, the Mouquet Farm lay about 100 yards, about the length of an American Football Field, I believe to the east of where it stands today.

Does anyone know for certain the exact of approximate distance between the reconstructed Mouquet Farm, and the old destroyed Mouquet Farm??

Thanks,

Alex

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Alex

With regard to position. Again using LinesMan, I have marked the position of the present farm and the modern roads on the IGN Map.

The same overlay, is then visible over the trench map. This gives a direct comparison of modern and 1916 position.

It seems the road is slightly repositioned, plus the farm is now on the other side of the road.

All the best

Guy

post-12226-1215986966.jpg

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Thank you, Guy, very much.

Yes, that will help a lot; that's great.

And, if anyone can answer those last two questions about the Quarry, and approximately how far the orginal Mouquet Farm was situated compared to the present day farm, I would really appreciate it.

If I can find that link I had where a Researcher says it was 100 feet, I will do that when I get a chance.

It certainly does not look at 100 yards, based on Guy's maps, so I will assume the Researcher is incorrect.

I would say the 20 feet does sound more correct based on the maps.

I don't know if anyone has heard about 100 feet before?

I may have some additional questions, but I think between Bean's Official History and Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson's

The Somme (published 2005) and the 3D map Guy provided, I should get a very good understanding of the battle.

Maybe one additional question, does anyone know if a documentary has ever been made whose main focus is on Mouquet Farm?? Or perhaps focuses on the A.I.F.'s battles of the Western Front.

I know there was the movie "ANZACS", with the actor Paul Hogan, but I am looking more for a documentary.

Thanks,

Alex

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Hi Alex,

I am also very interested in Mouquet Farm. My great uncle was killed there on September 3 1916.

There is another thread on this forum which discusses Mouquet Farm is some detail and has some excellent pictures.

Here is the link.

 

Its strange that you should mention a documentary.......last night, for the first time ever in the all the time I have spent researching or reading about the war, I dreamt about the jump off on the morning of September 3rd.

It was so lifelike I felt I was watching it the third person, there were shells going off everywhere and the noise was incredible but then I could hear the sound of panicked breathing as if I was running and really exerting myself but scared stiff at the same time.....awful. Thank goodness my little man woke up at 4.30am for a feed.

Great idea about the topography map, it really makes it easier to sense the location - particularly when I live so far away and can't pop over for a look.

Good luck with the research.

Cheers,

Elle

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[Hi,

I have several movies walking up the slopes from Pozieres towards Mouquet. Tom's cut, Brind's, OGI & II etc etc, following the 4th Brigade.

If anybody interested, I'll put them up on the Mac website.

Vic

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Elle, that must have been quite a dream.

Thanks for the link.

I have a description that I found on the web from a A.I.F. soldier about fighting on the Somme; I don't think he specified exactly where this was on the Somme.

It may have been Flers (?); I'm sorry, the First World War is not really covered in American schools in any depth.

Here's the description he gave; I'm fairly certain that I saved where I got this from on my other computer. I will try and edit this if there is an exact location the soldier was referring to, and try and put up the link (it might take a week or two).

This was from a local newsletter from Australia that was on the web:

DAVID MERSON No. 4660 Pte 26th Battalion AIF (Australian)

Born in Stamford in 1890, Northumberland. Son of Rev. David Merson, D.D. and Jessie Margaret Merson (nee Leslie) from Huntly in Aberdeenshire. Educated at Royal Grammar School, Newcastle. Trained in Life Insurance. Emigrated from England Abt. 1908 aged 18 to farm pineapples at Palmwoods in Queensland. His brother James later joined him.

Enlisted on 30 September 1915 in Brisbane. Embarked for Middle East on 12 April 1916 on RMS "Mooltan" - 12th Reinf., 26th Bn.

While recuperating at Wych Cross Hospital in Sussex, David Merson wrote some quite descriptive letters home. As a matter of interest, I thought I would include the following extract from one written to his brother-in-law Athole Murray on 19 April 1917:

"I had enough experience of war crowded into the six months I was at the front to satisfy the biggest glutton under the sun. I was on the Somme all the time, except for a short time at Ypres in October.

Any man who has been in France will always associate the Somme with mud-mud everywhere, cold, sticky & deep. Besides the mud, the heaviest part of the fighting always took place on the Somme. In November I took part in a charge on the German trenches, & we failed because the artillery failed to cut the barbed wire entanglements between our lines & Fritz's. The result was that the battalion I belong to got wiped almost out of existence. I was one of the lucky ones & came through it without a scratch.

When you read in the newspapers about our men charging the German trenches & capturing them do you ever realise what the men have to go through who take part in it. The loss of 25% of the strength of a unit in a charge is considered very low while 50% is common & up to 70 & 80% often happens.

A charge is preceeded by a few minutes intense bombardment in 'No Mans Land' to wipe out any snipers or working parties that might be knocking about & also to prevent the enemy from leaving their trenches to meet us. No one could possibly realise what an intense bombardment is like without seeing one. All the big guns for miles around play onto the spot to be taken & probably 1000 guns are throwing shells into a space of 100 yards as fast as they can fire.

High explosive shells bursting, throw up clouds of mud & dirt, shrapnel bursting in the air & pieces flying about everywhere & the whole air is grey with smoke & full of the smell of powder. You cannot distinguish the individual firing of the guns as it is just one loud rumbling noise like thunder, but louder.

Then the barrage lifts from No Mans Land on to the enemy's front trenches, so as to prevent the men in the trenches from raising their heads above the parapets. Then the attackers leap out of their trenches with fixed bayonets & carrying their machine guns.

Then hell opens up. The enemy guns start to shell No Mans Land for all they are worth, & machine guns rattle out from the enemy's positions. Perhaps the first wave of men only get a few yards & are mown down with machine gun fire, like a scythe going across a field of corn. All go across at a slow trot or walk - the ground is heavy, being all churned up & it is one mass of shell holes which of course have to be avoided.

Your mate alongside of you falls forward without a groan - he is dead. Just in front of you a few yards a high explosive shell bursts & you await the end calmly, but not this time & you notice that one man perhaps half a dozen, have disappeared & you know that they are buried & will never be seen again, unless the next shell uncovers their bodies!

Then you get within 25 yards of the enemy's trench & the barrage lifts from his front trench on to his support trenches & you rush forward with a wild shout of joy. What living men are left in the enemy's trench are as much demoralised by that shout - the shout of victory - as by the awful bombardment they have just been through.

They throw up their hands & cry "Mercy, Kamerad" & you see that awful look of despair & misery on their faces & no matter what oaths you had previously sworn against these men, or what revenge you had promised yourself when you came face to face with them, you feel that now to satisfy those desires would be cowardly, unfair, & unsportsmanlike.

You search them for souvenirs then send them back under escort & make them carry wounded back with them.

Then the trench is searched for dug-outs which are usually packed with men. You call for them to come out & most of them obey, but if all persuasion fails, you throw one or two bombs down the stairs, for in war unnecessary risks cannot be taken when it is your life or theirs. You hear groans at the bottom of the dug-out & later go down to clear the place of its human debris. All hands set to work to build up the trench, knocked about by their own guns, - to face it about so as to suit their own needs.

Then you prepare for the counter attack."

Hi Vic,

Yes, I would be very interested in seeing those movies of the Pozieres and Mouquet Farm area.

I'm not sure I'm familiar with the Mac site (is that similar to YouTube?) though; if you could provide me a link here so I know where to view them, that would great.

Thanks,

Alex

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hello to you all.

I am struck and fascinated by the threads of pozieres and moo cow farm. Especially as i will cooporate with the town in their yearly son et lumiere. A play they show in the evenings to commemorate the australians. Iff you wonder about the lack of detailed official documentations .. roll calls and such just imagen the complete lack of it during the battle... officers without maps... jumping of points not marked.... objectives not ore barely noticable. and communication not available. I have in my possesion an australian documentary on video..not especially about mouquet farm but of the battle of pozieres in whole.

title is ... the australians at the somme 1916 POZIERES produced by lynda house,elm films

after reading your research elle it ended like a clifhanger... have you ever come close to were youre relly died ore is all still a big blure and mystery?

ending with the words of John Masefield War correspondent.

I've passed the last two days on the australians amazing battlefield Pozieres. 200yards square. and 10.000 men were killed on that plateau and buried and unburied and buried and unburied till no bit of dust is without a bit of man in it.

cooee

patrick

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Hi Patrick,

After 94 years, what happened to Bill is still a mystery Im afraid. You wouldn't think something like that could still haunt a family after all that time, but it does.

Sometimes I look at his face in the couple of photographs I have of him and he looks so gentle and peaceful and I am just saddened by the fact that he was killed at the age of 19 and never got to live his life. He never even got a decent burial. Its just not right. And to think that he was only one of thousands, tens of thousands, that were shredded and torn and bleeding and scared and sometimes sacrificed for no good cause at all.

Still the least I can do now is to learn more about what happened and write it all down so that my sons and their sons will know his story and he won't be forgotten.

One day I will get back to France and I will go to Mouquet Farm and look out over those fields and roads and know that this is where he walked and fought and died and hopefully I will feel more at peace with the idea.

And if you will be there this year Patrick, maybe you could spare a thought for him too.

Cheers, Elle.

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Here is a photo of the quarry by Mouquet Farm in 1916...

post-6447-1216198847.jpg

...and this is it today

post-6447-1216198875.jpg

The quarry is located 250 metres SSW of the site of Mouqet Farm. The original was located in the space which is today an enclosure of rough trees and grass to the north of the track leading east from the Pozieres-Thiepval road. The current farm is immediately to the south of the same track. This means for an observer standing at the roadside Australian memorial plaque the farm is to the right of where it would have been 90 years ago.

Jack

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Jack, thanks for sharing the photos and this information.

I wondered what had happened to this Quarry; it had been such a prominent feature, yet I had not seen any modern photos of it; so, it has been covered up.

Here's a painting of the Quarry by an Australian War Artist (from an Australian government website):

th_QuarrynearMouqetFarm.jpg

Bean states that this was a "large chalk-pit shaped like a horse-shoe, open towards the Australians." (Bean p. 733).

Here's the quote of the researcher who wrote that the original Mouquet Farm was about 100 yards to the left of the modern farm; I do not want to possibly embarrass this person, so I left his name out:

It's a bit academic, but the farm you see now is not built on the exact site

of the pre-WW1 farm - that was on the other side of the farm access lane, so

maybe 100 yards left of the farm in the photo. Apparently the place was so

riddled with German dug-outs etc that the ground was highly unstable, and it

was easier and safer to rebuild on new foundations.

It does sound like he was a bit off.

Patrick, I will try and find the documentary that you mentioned.

Here are some photographs of Mouquet Farm and the underground cellers that the Germans had fortified

These are from the National Library of Australia's database of historic photos; I typed in Mouquet Farm, and got this result:

You might have to allow "popups" on your browser to access this link.

Or, go to pictureaustralia.org, and enter Mouquet Farm:

http://www.pictureaustralia.org/apps/pictu...amp;mode=search

Elle, I have a relatively brief New York Times article on the fighting at the Somme (it mentions Mouquet Farm very briefly) which the Correspondent wrote on September 3, 1916 and was published on September 5, 1916 in the newspaper:

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/...&oref=login

And this is a letter written by Charles Bean in which he describes the September 3rd battle; it looks like he used these letters as a source when he wrote the Official History:

http://www.abacci.com/annotated/ebook.aspx...p;pagenumber=15

Alex

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Alex, thanks for those accounts. I have read the NY times one previously but not the letter from Bean. I am reading everything I can get my hands on at the moment!

Jack, those pictures of the quarry are great.....I have a much better idea of what it would have looked like and where it was sited now.

I am really keen to find out more about the cellars if anyone has any more info on those.

Cheers,

Elle

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  • 11 years later...

My Great Uncle Charles Purcell aka Andrew Charles Purcell Service Number 1784 died at Mouquet Farm 06/08/1916. I discovered this purely by accident in January this year. These maps & photos are amazing. Thank-you.

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spacer.png

 

Here is the quarry photographed 3 or 4 years ago. It sits in a fenced-off meadow which, unlike the surrounding fields, has not been restored and put to the plough since the war, and still carries traces of shellholes, more visible in a slanting light. Apart from the trees, the quarry itself is unchanged.

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Hi Debby

 

Just to give you a bit of context for the maps and Toby's superb black and white one this is a wide view of the area taken from close to the Leipzig salient just south of the memorial at Thiepval. The farm and the quarry are in the centre with the transmitter mast which I think marks the highest point on the battlefield behind the trees around the quarry. Pozieres village is on the right horizon with the church steeple just visible. You get a sense of the undulations of the landscape which you don't see from the maps. All this could be completely wrong however; I've posted photos before and found my captions are wildly inaccurate. I'm sure the chums will comment if this is the case, and I certainly hope you get to visit.

 

Pete.

697518199_MouquetFarmandPozieresRidge.JPG.5b30c17a229fefd487ff740b99477e53.JPG

 

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The transmitter mast is opposite Pozieres Windmill, and Pete's photo illustrates well the Australian swing to the left and along the ridge between the windmill and Mouquet farm, towards the high ground behind Thiepval and parallel with the German 2nd line.

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36 minutes ago, horrocks said:

The transmitter mast is opposite Pozieres Windmill, and Pete's photo illustrates well the Australian swing to the left and along the ridge between the windmill and Mouquet farm, towards the high ground behind Thiepval and parallel with the German 2nd line.

 

Thanks Toby, That day had a strange light as I remember it, overcast and humid and I was convinced it was going to be thundery, but it wasn't. I've got a couple more looking the other way which are a bit better exposed.

 

Pete.

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Debby

 

This may also give you a sense of the place and further illustrate Toby's point about the ground around the quarry.

 

Pete.

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I thought that the sky had an interesting luminance in that photo, Pete. The lower half could be lifted easily enough in photoshop.

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4 minutes ago, Fattyowls said:

Debby

 

This may also give you a sense of the place and further illustrate Toby's point about the ground around the quarry.

 

Pete.

 

Excellent, the perfect slanting light too!

 

I've just realised that this is one of those threads that has been exhumed from way back in the mists of GWF time.

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8 minutes ago, horrocks said:

I've just realised that this is one of those threads that has been exhumed from way back in the mists of GWF time.

 

We've got Debby to thank for that; I'm interested to see what she thinks, @GreatWar360 's site is brilliant, I have to be careful not to spend hours and hours on there. I'll respond about photoshopping my dodgy point and shoot efforts when Debby's had a chance to look at the thread. I was just relieved that I was pointing the camera in the general direction of the farm; that particular trip was a low point for questionable identification of what I'd snapped......

 

Pete.

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Thanks @Fattyowls, another great photo. I am lucky to be able to see them. I am going through my Great Uncle's service records & his mother, (my Great Grandmother), wrote a letter to the military after hearing of her son's death....'Could you kindly get me any real information as to where in France he was killed & how with perhaps when this war is over of visiting that spot some day.' I don't think she ever got to go to France.

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1 hour ago, Debby63 said:

Thanks @Fattyowls, another great photo. I am lucky to be able to see them. I am going through my Great Uncle's service records & his mother, (my Great Grandmother), wrote a letter to the military after hearing of her son's death....'Could you kindly get me any real information as to where in France he was killed & how with perhaps when this war is over of visiting that spot some day.' I don't think she ever got to go to France.

 

You are more than welcome Debby; that is a very interesting story. I heard Dr Tony Pollard give a lecture about finding the missing men at Pheasant Wood near Fromelles a few years ago and he used a quote from a similar letter as the title of the talk. I've been lucky enough to make several friends down under who have relatives who fell in France and Belgium all as a result of a chance meeting at Pheasant Wood cemetery.

 

Am I correct is saying that Charles Purcell is buried in Serre Road No. 2?

 

Pete.

 

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