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Turk Lane


charly
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Hello Everyone,

I was wondering if anyone has a trench map of Deville Wood with Turk Lane on it dated September 1916 they would kindly copy..........

I have a map of the Delville Wood of that time & date but it doesn't show Turk Lane or French Lane.

My GG died on 10th Sept 1916 & I believe he was in or around Turk Lane on the date of his death & wondered if anyone could help with my request.

His name is W E Holt he was in the 1st / 5th KORLR & I think he was part of 'D' comp but not sure ( if anyone could help with that as well it would be great )

Regards to all

Charly

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Charly,

I've looked through all the maps on cd that I have around the Delville wood area but cannot find the two trenches you refer to.

There's Tea lane and Coffee lane to the north of the wood and Pilsen lane between the wood and Ginchy, but thats the only trenches refered to as lanes that I can see around the Delville wood area.

Maybe someone with the book of trench map names could give us some info that might help on this one.

regards

Tom

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Turk lane is mentioned in "Rats Alley" 57cSW Gueudecourt/3 Longueval MAP Reference m18 m23,24,30,35,36 I will have a look but i dont think i have this map

best regards John

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Many thanks for that John, I have just seen reference to these trenches from "Moaris in the Great War"

pages 89 and 90 giving several references to them

link.....

http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-CowM...body-d9-d1.html

I hope the information John has given and the site link I have posted may help Charly

regards

Tom

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This shows Turk Avenue running down the middle of the map - but this is north of Flers, from a 1917 map, and matches the co-ordinates given by John above. Not sure if this is what you mean...

Alan

post-2705-1217062537.jpg

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Yes thats what I noticed Alan, reading the exerpt from the Maoris war diary I seem to tie Turk lane and French Lane down to the positions of R.E.Alley

and R.L. Alley seen on the attached map. Were the names changed at anytime? if not the two trenches sought seem to lie in this area when one reads the description given in the diary on the link I posted

regards

Tom

post-5284-1217063749.jpg

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The section from the diary I refer to.......

post-5284-1217064294.jpg

regards

Tom

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So after a bit of map reading and head scratching, I think Turk lane and French lane are in the area of the road between Longueval and

Bazentin le Grand. With the maps and info I have thats my best guess.....shame they're not marked on any of the maps available

regards

Tom

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Hello All,

Thanks to everyone who replied, I have a map of the area but its been drawn, it shows French Lane & Turk Lane running parallel with each other coming from the direction of Montauban through between Delville Wood & High Wood & carries on towards Flers.

I will post it as soon as I get home in a few days.

I have read with great interest the diary in question & have been reading various Regiments accounts of the time & date & area in question.

Regards to all,

Charly

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post-23539-1217860640.jpg

Hello All,

This is the map I spoke of a few days ago !

It shows French Lane & Turk Lane running parallel with each other between Delville Wood & High Wood.

Just wondered why they aren't on any trench maps of the time .

Regards to all,

Charly

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This section is taken from a map dated 29/9/16, Thistle Alley is quite clearly visible as on your hand drawn version Charly, but no sign of the two you were interested in, Turk lane and French lane......... Maybe it was changed and shown on later trench maps, unfortunately this is the latest I have dated for that area.

regards

Tom

post-5284-1217946944.jpg

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Hi Tom,

Thank you for your information and time,

I find this question quite strange as to why the two lanes in question are on certain maps but not on others .........

I will keep looking & hopefully find a trench map with the information Im looking for

Again many thanks Tom

Regards

Charly

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  • 2 weeks later...

Looking at the above maps and seeing the start and routes of the trenches, the I would say that

Turk Lane is Saint George Alley, and French Lane is W York Alley. Maybe rebuilt with new names.

Alan

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I think that is very likely Alan, maybe the original trenches were fire damaged and when re-dug/repaired were given new names.

I noticed on Charly's hand drawn map that Turk lane extends all the way up to the east of Flers...a long trench indeed not to be named on the collection of trench maps on cd that I have. The latest map I have of the area is dated for the end of September 1916.

I'm back over there again in October staying at Longueval which is only a few hundred yards from the two trenches Charly's been looking for, its another thing I can have a look at "on the ground" while I'm mooching around the battlefields. I have linesman on my pda, and I'll be interested to see if I can match Charly's map with the "official" ones I have on the hand held sat nav......

regards

Tom

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  • 1 month later...

Charly

On your map in post 10 there seems to be an error as on my trench map dated Jan. 1917 on nyour map its called Abbey Road and on my trench map its called Turk Avenur. My scanner is playing up I will send tomorrow.

John

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Charly

As promised the scan of Turk Avenue.

John

Its "Turk Lane" we were looking for John, we seem to have it tied down to between Longueval and High wood

regards

Tom

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  • 13 years later...

I am revisiting this old topic because of a new personal interest, and a feeling the question is not adequately resolved. My understanding is as follows. (I invite correction and elucidation.)

Turk and French Lanes were in the New Zealand Division's sector in September 1916. The names were coined by and used by the NZ Division. They did not make it on to the non-secret trench maps of the time which generally did not show allied trenches. I have not seen any secret maps of the specific area between High and Deville woods from the time (57c SW, 3rd edition) but presume they exist and would clarify the names assigned at the time. 

I would expect only names that made it onto published trench maps to endure. Informal names would likely be lost in the turnover of manpower.

Turk and French lanes were constructed as communication trenches shortly before the attack was renewed on 15th September, 1916. Turk was intended for up traffic and French for down. The former was considered a major work by those who used it.

The name "French Lane" does not seem to have endured. Nor does it seem to appear in non-NZ reports possibly being considered ambiguous with French forces nearby. The Lane may have joined or become Fish Alley. Trench names beginning with "F" prevail in the area.

Turk Lane, possibly beginning near Montauban, crossed Carlton trench and was dug as far as Switch or the "new Switch" trench as the attack progressed. It extended for 8 km ultimately, to the west and north of Flers where the name appears on some trench maps, as reported by Barkalotloudly above.

"Rat's Alley: Trench Names of the Western Front 1914-1918," By Peter Chasseaud, can be searched online here:

  Index for WWI Maps & Air Photos (mcmaster.ca)

I understand Turk Lane crossed squares S16, S10, S5, M36 and possibly M35 when the NZ Division was in the field. Turk lane was subsequently extended to M30, M24, M23 and M18, on map 57c NW. I have not been able to discern its exact location at the southern end relative to the A.D.S.'s at Thistle and Green Dumps.

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17 hours ago, Kaniere said:

I have not seen any secret maps of the specific area between High and Deville woods from the time (57c SW, 3rd edition) but presume they exist and would clarify the names assigned at the time. 

This is an intriguing name and having checked over 19 maps from 1916 from IWM / WFA, a handful from NLS and McMaster I am defeated!  It clearly existed as Chasseaud documented it.  For it to span 8 kilometres - well that was a significant investment on the front line.  Chasseaud lists:

Turk Avenue    57cSW1 Gueudecourt    M 23 b, d, 24 c, 30 a
Turk Lane    57cSW1 Gueudecourt / 3 Longueval    M 18, 23, 24, 30, 35, 36
Turk Support    57cSW1 Gueudecourt    M 17 d, 18 c, 24 a

However, Chasseaud's own 57cSW3 map (Secret edition, trenches correct to 3-9-16) is published on McMaster for free download.  It doesn't show it and your comprehensive list on page 343 - 344 does not mention it by name.

image.png.81d4392c86d0422a5b9e878d850df679.png

Across the various maps I could see numerous examples of Turk this and Turk that but not Turk Lane.

Hopefully someone else will come up with an extract showing it.  The unit war diaries are the best places to find these.

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The construction of Turk Lane by the NZ Pioneers did not begin until 3 September 1916 so it won't appear on earlier maps or in Hall's list on pages 343-344 which are for August.  

I have seen few secret maps and those I have seen do not seem to show much more than front line British trenches. There are a few maps about that have been annotated by hand, presumably the officer who used them. 

There is an aerial photo taken after the war which has the line of Turk lane marked in white ink. It is far from clear and the photo may be distorted as I have had trouble aligning it with maps of the time.  

https___media.api.aucklandmuseum.com_id_media_p_af76a97b628a6eb4917ffca09044aeaf9e41a17d_rendering=original.jpg

 

New Zealand Maori Pioneer Battalion - War Diary, 1 - 30 September 1916

https://ndhadeliver.natlib.govt.nz/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE26143064 Very faded and low resolution scans only. Very hard to read.

Sept 2.  Excerpt.

... In afternoon CO, 2?CO   ????  went up to layout new coms(?)  trenches -French & Turk Lanes from Montauban to the front line between high Wood and Deville Wood. ...

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Thank you Kaniere. The diary you linked appears to be the one my great uncle was in and the diary entry about the camp being shelled on 9 Sept lines up with the date he was killed. That explains and clarifies what I had been looking for. This is very much appreciated.

 

Neil

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17 hours ago, Kaniere said:

The construction of Turk Lane by the NZ Pioneers did not begin until 3 September 1916 so it won't appear on earlier maps or in Hall's list on pages 343-344 which are for August.  

I have seen few secret maps and those I have seen do not seem to show much more than front line British trenches. There are a few maps about that have been annotated by hand, presumably the officer who used them. 

There is an aerial photo taken after the war which has the line of Turk lane marked in white ink. It is far from clear and the photo may be distorted as I have had trouble aligning it with maps of the time.  

https___media.api.aucklandmuseum.com_id_media_p_af76a97b628a6eb4917ffca09044aeaf9e41a17d_rendering=original.jpg

 

New Zealand Maori Pioneer Battalion - War Diary, 1 - 30 September 1916

https://ndhadeliver.natlib.govt.nz/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE26143064 Very faded and low resolution scans only. Very hard to read.

Sept 2.  Excerpt.

... In afternoon CO, 2?CO   ????  went up to layout new coms(?)  trenches -French & Turk Lanes from Montauban to the front line between high Wood and Deville Wood. ...

Thanks again for this - I'm trying to find the war diary for the NZ Field Engineers 2nd Company and struggling to find it in the natlib.govt.nz - do you have any tips on how to find things on their huge and very confusing website? Much appreciated!

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The definitive work showing the location of Turk Lane and Fish Alley should be the record kept by the unit that constructed them, namely the NZ Pioneers.

The hand-annotated 1:10,000 scale map of the "British Front From High Wood To Ginchy", dated 10.9.16,  taken from the last page of the NZ Pioneers war diary for September 1916, shows Turk Lane running from S10 b 8.3 at the bottom edge of the map to M24 b 8.3 on the German Gird Support trench. The diary indicates  elsewhere that the lane started from or near Montauban 3km south off the map. This area north of the village was probably under direct German observation when the trench construction started.

Fish Alley starts on North Street S11 b 2.9 and finishes near M36 b 4.2 in a sunken road close to Abbey Road and Flers

No "French Lane" is shown on this map. It may not have progressed far beyond Montauban.

I was surprised to find the derivative PDF file of the diary was of higher resolution than the files available by down loading the individual files.  

I have increased the contrast and trimmed the attached map to improve readability.

Pioneers-29.jpg

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