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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

aerial view - shells bursting - 1 & 2 C.C.S.


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AWM identifies this photo as "an aerial view of a section of sheet map 36A, Squares 3, 4, 9 and 10, showing shells bursting. No 1 and 2 Casualty Clearing Stations can be seen in the centre and centre right" (March 1918).

This is its present location on Google Maps. (The caption should read "36A, Squares F 3, 4, 9 & 10")

Does this photo show the British 1 & 2 CCS? The Australian units 1 ACCS and 2 ACCS were not far from this location in March 1918. Anyone know the story behind this photo?

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I think this would need to be thought through very carefully. The main problem is that during March 1918, Nos.1 and 2 CCS (British) were in different locations - never together, and I believe that can also be stated re: No.1 and 2 Australian CCS. So both CCSs of one country could not have been shelled at the same time.

No.1 CCS was at Chocques, and No.2 CCS was at Outtersteene (which I believe is where this location is). However around the same time, No.1 Australian CCS was also at Outtersteene, so in theory you could have No.1 and No.2 there, albeit of different nationalities! No.2 Australian CCS was at Trois Arbres in early March 1918, closing during the second half of the month and re-opening at Ana Jana on 5 April and then closing once again and moving to Blendeques.

From early March to mid-April most of the CCSs were constantly shelled and frequently closing, moving and opening again on different sites. I think it would only be possible to verify this if you could give a very accurate date for the image.


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Sue, for Nos. 1 and 2 Australian Casualty Clearing Stations, I think I've located them fairly precisely, to the south and west of this location in March. So, nearby, but not in this spot and certainly not together. (They did actually operate side by side, but in Blendecques, Apr-Aug 1918.) Below is the timeline I've sketched from the war diaries.

The AWM photo captions are often incorrect.

Does it look like a CCS to you? I guess in that location it could only be. And might it be two, or just one large camp i.e. just No. 2 British CCS?

- - -

1. A.C.C.S.

"TASMANIA" camp - "Between Bailleul and Oultersteene" 36A N.E. F.4.B.9.4.

19 July 1917 until 28 March 1918, moved under urgent orders to Hondeghem

Hondeghem - 27 V.4.b.2.5

28/29/30 March 1918 until 12 April 1918

2 A.C.C.S.

Trois Arbres

17 June 1916 until approx. 15 March 1918

Noote Boon near Oultersteene 36A NE F.16 b1.8

War Diary says good spot found a mile behind No. 2 British CCS within a "coo-ee" of No. 1 [A.C.C.S.?]

16 March 1918 until 26/27 March 1918

Ana Jana Siding

26-29 March 1918, evacuated 12 April

my working map

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If you go to this page on my web site, there are some details from the war diary of the Matron-in-Chief about the movement of the CCSs at that time. It seems to me that No.1 Australian and No.2 British CCS were both in Outtersteene, but on different sites, and that No.1 Australian was the one that suffered most from shelling during March, although never directly hit. Shelling isn't mentioned as a particular problem for No.2 (British) until 9th April. I would have said that CCSs were rarely on their own, and always in pairs, but the war diary actually seems to confirm that these were the only two in Outtersteene, and so it seems that the comment about them being a mile or so apart is probably accurate, and that image is of 1 ACCS. But I'm not sure that makes sense of No.1 ACCS being within a coo-ee of No.2 ACCS during the last week or two of March.

As far as the photo goes, No.1 ACCS on its own is my guess - the site doesn't look large enough for two.

CCS movements March/April 1918


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  • 2 weeks later...

Matron-in-Chief's diary omits one location for No.2 ACCS (Noote Boon near Outtersteene 36A NE F.16 b1.8) but understandable given the rapidity of the moves at that time.

Now fairly certain that aerial photo is No. 2 British CCS.

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  • 2 months later...

Visited this site during the week; a small structure remains that is likely from this period. If it is a CCS, why is there no cross visible from the air? If it is 2CCS, does anyone have access to a war diary or other source which could provide precise location? Reasonably certain it is not an Australian CCS (they were nearby but not here).

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