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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Manor Farm & Canada Tunnels


shutt

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My Grandfather spent a few days at Manor Farm with the KOYLI in early January 1918. During that time, his unit according to their war diaries were helping the Royal Engineers move equipment up to the "Canada Tunnels". They then spent a couple of days at the front line before helping to pump out the Canada Tunnels which had flooded due to heavy rain overnight. I have found Manor Farm just south of Ypres, but has anyone else come across the Canada Tunnels ?. I guess they must have been close to Manor Farm, but wonder what they were, mines, underground communication tunnels, bunkers ??. I believe the area was under the Canadians control at the time, which obviously explains the name, but wonder if anyone can enlighten me further ?. Think I`ve asked this once before, so apologies for repeating myself, but maybe someone out there who did`nt see my previous post can help.

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Canada Tunnels appear on a trench map of March 1918 and are roughly one mile to the south-east of Zillebeke Lake.

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Thanks IanA. Is that map online anywhere, would be most interested to see it. I`ve had a look at the McAllister site and through the postings for maps on here but without any luck, unless I missed something. Does it give any indication as to exactly what they were ?.

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Sorry, as far as I know it's not on-line - my copy is on disk. I ought to be able to export it here as a bitmap but that facility appears greyed out so maybe I'm doing something wrong or am just too thick to understand the software. If you PM me with your address, I can print off that section and post it to you.

There is no indication what they were.

Ian

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The sheet in question is Ypres 28.N.W.4.

I found a reference to Canada Street Tunnels (note the 'Street') in 'Beneath Flanders Fields' - in 1917 they appear to have been used as comparatively safe billets for headquarters.

"There was put at our disposal a tiny chamber next door to Brigade Headquarters in Canada Street Tunnels. It was perhaps ten by five, filled with fetid air, impregnated with the reek of burning fat from the Tommies' cookers, on which the men in the passage brewed endless tea. To me that cell has fixed itself as the portrait of any battalion headquarters in this dirty war. The walls were of pit props, covered with stained and ragged canvas. At the end a previous tennant had pinned a 'Vie Parisienne' picture of a naked girl. The pins had fallen out and it now hung awkwardly neglected, a great smudge of black across the face. Below a rough shelf was hung a sheaf of pink telegraph forms, relics of earlier guests at this road-house. A two-tiered bunk of rabbit wire occupied a third of the room. There was one double stool and an upturned SAA box. A narrow table ran along one wall. On it lay a nature morte, a scrawled map, a whisky flask, a packet of Goldflake, a steel helmet, a couple of Mills bombs, a half-pint enamelled mug full of thick tea, lighted by three inches of candle stuck in a bottle neck down which the grease of countless forerunners had spilled and congealed.

Beneath the table a petrol tin of chlorinated water clanked when it was kicked. From nails hung two panoplies, tangles of eqipment, helmets, haversacks, water bottles, and revolver cases. Outside in the darkness there was the never-ending tump-tump of pumps keeping the water back, and every now and then the muted explosion of a heavy shell near the top of the staircase. When a barrage was fired one's brain was assailed by a series of countless small pressures. For the rest, it was waiting for something to occur, the next meal, the next orders, the end of the war, or the end of the world." - Lt Guy Chapman, Royal Fusiliers.

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Thanks very much for that Ian, very interesting. Appreciate your taking time to find that description. Thanks for your kind offer to print off that section of the map too, I`ll drop a pm.

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