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Remembered Today:

Where was Monsoon Trench, Ginchy?


gngm

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Does anyone know where Monsoon Trench, Ginchy, Somme was? My grandfather, who served in the 58th Battalion AIF, was wounded there (gunshot wound to the shoulder) on 19/1/1917? I have looked at various trench maps on-line but can't see it. He was a company commander at the time and I have a feeling he was shot by a sniper while moving up to the front line, so it might be a communication trench. That was his second wound; he was first wounded at Fromelles on 19/7/1916 by a blow from a rifle butt in the stomach, which necessitated his evacuation about 6 weeks later.

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Hi Graham

I am sure I have come across Monsoon Trench but just can not pinpoint where, the Lesboeufs/Morval/Sailly-Saillisel come to mind. I have looked at a couple of trench maps I have of the 57c S.W. area with out luck. Peter could be correct Monsoon could be near Stormy, Rainbow, Gusty and Misty Trenches but these names are a bit light, where as there is Thunder and Lighting trenches between Morval and Sailly-Saillisel so Monsoon could just be in this area. Do you know if 58th Battalion AIF where near Sailly-Saillisel ?

Annette

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Just reallised the Aussies could not be at Sailly-Saillisel in Jan 1917, as the 20th Division were there at that time, were the Aussie more to the left ?

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Hi Graham.

Hope this helps. 'Monsoon' Trench marked. If you would like wider area please P.M..me. Map by Linesman.

Regards Jim.

post-51262-0-97316700-1325493360.jpg

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The 58 Bn war diary for Jan 17 has them in Needle Trench west of Lesboeufs for a few days before going forward to relieve 57 Bn in Rose Trench and dugouts near Miller's Son on the 19th. They suffer casualties in Gusty Trench on the 20th. No mention of Monsoon Trench though. Annette has the right area in the triangle between Guedecourt, Le Transloy and Lesboeufs. All very inconveniently split between 3 maps - 57C SW1, SW2 and SW3.

A general overview can be found here http://lt1.mcmaster.ca/ww1/wrz4mp.php?grid=57c&map_id=84&view

Graham, do you have his service record or a name we can check to see if there is anything helpful there?

Glen

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The 58 Bn war diary for Jan 17 has them in Needle Trench west of Lesboeufs for a few days before going forward to relieve 57 Bn in Rose Trench and dugouts near Miller's Son on the 19th. They suffer casualties in Gusty Trench on the 20th. No mention of Monsoon Trench though. Annette has the right area in the triangle between Guedecourt, Le Transloy and Lesboeufs. All very inconveniently split between 3 maps - 57C SW1, SW2 and SW3.

A general overview can be found here http://lt1.mcmaster....&map_id=84

Graham, do you have his service record or a name we can check to see if there is anything helpful there?

Glen

Thank you all for that information. I am still trying to tie all the info together. My grandfather, George Gordon Milne, served in the AIF under a false name, Leonard Henry Dardier. I only found this out a few days ago. There was a real L H Dardier of the Royal Field Artillery who was kia in 1915; they seem to have met as British Red Cross Volunteers in the Balkan War of 1912-13 (I have my grandfather's BRCS medal and its in his AIF record). For some reason my grandfather used his name when he went out to Australia. There are two medal index cards in the name of L H Dardier but they don't seem to have worked out that one of them didn't exist! My grandfather managed to get himself court-martialled for being drunk in Salisbury in Feb 1918 - he walked into a police station to complain about a light outside. I even know where he had dinner; it was the George Hotel! It seems a very draconian sentence for someone who was off-duty and even the Commander-in-Chief (Southern Command) recommended just a reprimand and loss of seniority . You will see his promotions (under Dardier) in the war diary of the 58th Battalion; he was promoted to 2nd Lt. in Feb 1916 in Egypt and Lt. in Aug 1916 in France. He took over as Adjutant of the 60th Battalion on 20/7/1916, the day after Fromelles, because there was only one officer of the 60th, a Lt., surviving. He managed to get himself into what appears to have been the most suicidal attack of WW1, when 2 companies of the 58th attacked the Sugarloaf at 9pm on 19/7/1916 (the attack had been cancelled by the corps commander, Haking, but the message didn't reach the 58th in time) . He made a statement in support of a recommendation of a posthumous VC for Major Hutchinson who commanded the attack so I assume that he was near him when he was killed looking for a way through the German wire.

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Hi Graham.

Hope this helps. 'Monsoon' Trench marked. If you would like wider area please P.M..me. Map by Linesman.

Regards Jim.

That's fabulous. Many thanks.

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Hi Graham

Jim's 'Monsoon' Trench is not the one your looking for, it as to be in the Guedecourt, Le Transloy and Lesboeufs area. And it was mebu (peter) who seid it was in this area not me, I was thinking it was too the right of Lesboeufs but looking at SPOF (Glen)'s post it is clear that they were in square 28 between Guedecourt and Le Transloy.

Annette

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Graham

To follow up on Annette's post, here is Neck Trench (highlighted in blue) which was the starting point in the support lines and the Bn moved off to the upper corner and a bit to the right. Use that and the Macmaster's map I posted earlier to get an idea of the area.

I've just been reading the diary of a stretcher bearer from the 58th but unfotunately he got frost bite in very early January (which got him 9 months in England and a trip to the Palace to get a DCM off the King) so he doesn't say where they were. Between the war diary and the trench maps, I cannot find a Monsoon trench in that area but that may just be me being thick again. :blink: I can only surmise that the other "weather" names there such as Gusty etc. made him think of Monsoon when he needed to recall it in a stressful situation over a year later.

Either way, he was an exceptionally brave man to go over at 9pm after spending 3 hours watching what happened to the rest of the 15th Brigade at Fromelles.

Cheers

Glen

post-32914-0-14662900-1325931166.jpg

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Hi Graham

Jim's 'Monsoon' Trench is not the one your looking for, it as to be in the Guedecourt, Le Transloy and Lesboeufs area. And it was mebu (peter) who seid it was in this area not me, I was thinking it was too the right of Lesboeufs but looking at SPOF (Glen)'s post it is clear that they were in square 28 between Guedecourt and Le Transloy.

Annette

When I said Ginchy, what was meant was that the thread title-Ginchy- is not far off, certainly the local names put it in that vicinity, whether it is Ginchy, Lesboeufs or somewhere inbetween, but not up near Lens.

If the chap was shot coming up to the line, it is likely that the trench is now behind the British line, not in the front line or an objective. The trench name may therefore appear in a unit diary that was attacking a week or two prior to the event.

Peter

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Graham

To follow up on Annette's post, here is Neck Trench (highlighted in blue) which was the starting point in the support lines and the Bn moved off to the upper corner and a bit to the right. Use that and the Macmaster's map I posted earlier to get an idea of the area.

I've just been reading the diary of a stretcher bearer from the 58th but unfotunately he got frost bite in very early January (which got him 9 months in England and a trip to the Palace to get a DCM off the King) so he doesn't say where they were. Between the war diary and the trench maps, I cannot find a Monsoon trench in that area but that may just be me being thick again. :blink: I can only surmise that the other "weather" names there such as Gusty etc. made him think of Monsoon when he needed to recall it in a stressful situation over a year later.

Either way, he was an exceptionally brave man to go over at 9pm after spending 3 hours watching what happened to the rest of the 15th Brigade at Fromelles.

Cheers

Glen

Thank you very much for that.

Graham

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Monsoon Trench.

15th brigade diary mentions Monsoon Trench several times, but unfortunately no maps given. Engineers also no maps, generally a good source.

15 brigade intelligence report for 17/jan Two patrols were out on our front during the night. At 11.20 a patrol consisting of 1 NCO and 3 men left Monsoon Trench at N28 A7.9 and patrolled no mans land to the right communicating with Zenith trench at about N28D1/9.

Map attached shows the position of Monsoon trench marked, near Le Transloy

Peter

post-2649-0-46193800-1326103100.jpg

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PS here's the report

Peter

Brilliant! Many thanks.

Graham

I have overlaid the trench map above on a Google satellite image and have marked monsoon trench in red.

Thanks again.

monsoon_trench_ginchy_somme.jpg

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Hi Graham

I am not sure the trench you have highlighted in red is Monsoon ??? because the Welsh Guards History have a map (a simple line drawing) showing the next trench on the right of Cloudy as Blizzard, now this simple map could be incorrect or Blizzard was renamed between November and Jan. but I think Monsoon could be the trench that runs from 28.a.72.92 to about 22.c.58.38 ?????????

Annette

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Graham, I haven't tired to match exactly, but looking for some other photos on AWM I saw that photo AO2488, and onother classed as Gueudecourt, is an aeriel shot of the area around Sunray and Stormy trenches. May or may not show the area you are looking at.

Peter

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Thank you all for that information. I am still trying to tie all the info together. My grandfather, George Gordon Milne, served in the AIF under a false name, Leonard Henry Dardier. I only found this out a few days ago. There was a real L H Dardier of the Royal Field Artillery who was kia in 1915; they seem to have met as British Red Cross Volunteers in the Balkan War of 1912-13 (I have my grandfather's BRCS medal and its in his AIF record). For some reason my grandfather used his name when he went out to Australia. There are two medal index cards in the name of L H Dardier but they don't seem to have worked out that one of them didn't exist! My grandfather managed to get himself court-martialled for being drunk in Salisbury in Feb 1918 - he walked into a police station to complain about a light outside. I even know where he had dinner; it was the George Hotel! It seems a very draconian sentence for someone who was off-duty and even the Commander-in-Chief (Southern Command) recommended just a reprimand and loss of seniority . You will see his promotions (under Dardier) in the war diary of the 58th Battalion; he was promoted to 2nd Lt. in Feb 1916 in Egypt and Lt. in Aug 1916 in France. He took over as Adjutant of the 60th Battalion on 20/7/1916, the day after Fromelles, because there was only one officer of the 60th, a Lt., surviving. He managed to get himself into what appears to have been the most suicidal attack of WW1, when 2 companies of the 58th attacked the Sugarloaf at 9pm on 19/7/1916 (the attack had been cancelled by the corps commander, Haking, but the message didn't reach the 58th in time) . He made a statement in support of a recommendation of a posthumous VC for Major Hutchinson who commanded the attack so I assume that he was near him when he was killed looking for a way through the German wire.

I'm Graham's cousin Alastair, and like him I've been trying to fill in something of our mysterious grandfather, who led a most interesting if not terribly long life -- he died in 1942. Please excuse the length of this post, but I feel it necessary, given the considerable amount of information and also of hints that we've encountered.

There was indeed a real Leonard Henry Dardier, and like Gordon Milne (I don't think he ever went by George) he was a medical student at London University. We speculate they may have met there, but Gordon seems to have taken extended time away at various times, so maybe not. But they were both in the British Red Cross mission supporting the RAMC in the 1912 Balkan war: Gordon was 18 and Dardier probably about 22.

We lose track of them until Gordon is found on a passenger list sailing to Australia in 1913, though under his own name, the only one of his large family, and according to the passenger list, the intention of permanent residence in Australia.

In 1915, Leonard Dardier, initially with the RAMC (reasonable choice for a medical student), but later, as Graham says, with the RFA, is fatally wounded.

In 1916, one Leonard Henry Dardier, no. 3071, enlists in Melbourne for the 23rd Batt AIF. His address is given only as the Commonwealth Bank (?correct), Melbourne. He claims he was born in Scotland; Gordon was born in London, and if anybody called Dardier was ever born in Scotland the records don't show it. He names as next of kin Drs. Robert Milner Sr. and Jr., as uncle and cousin. Dr. Robert Milne Sr was Gordon's father, and Robert Jr was his elder brother (and a major in the RAMC). Common though those names are, the UK Medical Register shows them to be the only 2 doctors of that name in Britain.

Dardier is initially posted to the 23rd Batt. and is transported to Egypt for a long period of training, first as Sgt then 2/Lt. During this time the 58th Batt comes to Egypt (from Gallipoli I believe) and men, including Dardier, are reposted to double its strength. By July 1916 they are transported to Marseilles and Dardier applies for a Lieut's commission, but it will not be granted until mid August. I believe the history of the 59th's movements from there to Fleurbaix, and especially in the "worst night in Australian history", are well known.

However, MI cards in the archives show that the Army knew they had 2 L H Dardiers, and were at pains to distinguish them. The phrase "Not Identical" appears on both.

I've seen no evidence of where Dardier was during the Battle of Fromelles, whether up with Maj. Hutchinson's command or back in the reserves, the part of the 58th that wasn't decimated that night. It's stated that Gen. "Pompey" Elliot, on learning of Hutchison's bravery in trying to get his men to their objective in the teeth of machine gun fire, recommended a VC for him. Undersigning that recommendation are said to be 2 names: Byrd (of whom I know nothing) and 2/Lt L H Dardier. [according to the account in "Not to Reason Why"]. I have never seen a copy of the recommendation, only a transcription of the main text. Note that in this account "Dardier" isn't yet a full lieutenant. He seems to move up and down between them at least a couple of times more in his time in Europe.

As Graham says there is in Dardier's file a military history claiming an assignment as Adjutant of the 60th Batt. But frankly I have a lot of difficulty believing all that document's claims, such as 4 years of OTC at Cambridge and military experience in the Balkans in 1912. If Gordon had ever been at Cambridge we have no record of it. He and the real Dardier had been Briitish Red Cross volunteers, "dressers", in the Balkans. There is no record I can see that Dardier was ever transferred to the 60th (if so he had to have been quickly transferred back). It's true that the Adjutant of the 60th, Lt. Hugh Wrigley, is reported as severely wounded on 19 July (won an MC for his actions at Fromelles) and didn't resume as Adjutant until the following May. But Dardier wasn't promoted until 16 August, and a week later he reported sick. I understand that an Adjutant would typically be a higher-ranking officer, but Wrigley already had an exceptional record, including Mentioned in Despatches. To this date, unless I'm forgetting something, Dardier appears to be competent, but not outstanding.

Which is pretty hard to understand if he had 4 years of OTC at Cambridge.

I have no indication whether Pompey Elliot chose him for his proximity that night, whether he was near the front; or just because he would have known Maj. Hutchinson or heard reports of his actions, or simply been a survivor (not an officer) who'd been nearer at hand than Elliot had. As Graham has mentioned, Dardier reported ill some time after (Sep 1916, "mild" appendicitis) subsequent to being struck in the abdomen with a rifle butt. I have to doubt whether any Germans emerged for hand-to-hand engagements across no-man's land, given the powerful descriptions of the machine gun fire during the attack. A collision with a mate, maybe?

He was shipped to England for an appendectomy in London several days later (I'd always understood that appendicitis is an emergency, that if the appendix isn't out before it ruptures infection will spread across the abdomen, but ...) and only rejoined his unit by January 1917, a month or almost 2 after the end of the Battle of the Somme. Apparently he was again a lieutenant.

Here we catch up with what Graham has described: in command of a "D" company at Monsoon Trench, reportedly on the Somme, he was going "up to line" on 19 Jan when he was shot through the shoulder. Back to London, surgery, and release from Gen Hospital no. 3 in London on 8 March 1917. Moved among a few facilities in England, then shipped back to France on 25 April, to rejoin the 58th on 1 May at Bapaume.

Literally the next day he's marched into hospital again from what the records call the "5th ADBD". I don't know the term. Haven't seen what the medical problem was, though we know he had scabies at some point. It's 11 May when he's marched back to "5th ADBD". About a week after that he's detached for duty with the 15th Infantry Bgd Detail Camps. This seems more or less to end his time in France. By 19 June he's permanently in England with the 15th Training Batt. Whether giving or receiving the training I haven't seen.

From there his situation goes into a rather depressing decline involving paybook irregularities, open arrest, syphillis and gonorrhea, complaints and accusations against his superiors, culminating in the Salisbury police station episode Graham has described, after a day of drinking that by Dardier/Gordon's own description included at least 3 beers, 2 whiskies and a cocktail. Dardier insists he's not drunk, chooses to represent himself, and instead of proving the charges themselves false, tries to argue that the camp command was too badly organised to know they were true.

I'm not sure what exactly Graham means in saying he was off duty. He was in open arrest in camp, but had talked his way into a day's leave.

Lt. Col. Wanliss, whose validation had been on Dardier's papers since his enlistment, presided over the court martial, which included both British and AIF officers. As Graham says, one officer (a member?) suggested mere loss of seniority -- though I'm not sure how much seniority a 2nd lieut. with barely 2 years of service had. On 11 April 1918 he was cashiered and forfeited 61 days pay. The King confirmed the verdict.

Again I must differ a bit with Graham: it seems to me they could have done a lot worse (e.g. the penalty for misstatement on enlistment forms was apparently 2 years at hard labour). Forfeiture of his medals was of course automatic with the guilty verdict, but it seems he got to keep most of his service pay, forfeiting 61 days of it. A transport ship was ordered from Australia to return "Mr. Dardier" to his home, and in either 1918 or 1919, the HMAT Marathon did so.

While I'm sorry for his humiliation, and strongly suspect he wasn't fully responsible for his actions (some in our family branch, at least, have inherited ADD, dyslexia, and some really serious migraines: genuine, debilitating conditions that cannot be controlled just by personal discipline), I can only be glad he was off the battlefield. That bullet through his shoulder came within 4 or 5 inches of annihilating our whole families. Even though the defense of Europe was an absolute necessity, and it was noble of him to volunteer when he was under no obligation that I know of to do so, I think the once was close enough.

As for the contention that the mass slaughter, at Fromelles and many other places, was "glorious" -- well, let them believe so who will. If anybody dared to offer such words to the fiancee of Maj. Hutchinson, who wrote in alarm over receiving no word from him, I fear they must have done a lot more harm than good.

My apologies again for the length of this tome. I hope it helps anybody who may have some further information relating to G. Gordon Milne.

Alastair G. M. Milne, son of Eric N. C. Milne, son of G. Gordon Milne.

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In close proximity to Monsoon Trench were, I believe, "Miller's Son" and "Rose".

Were these trenches or strong points? [edit: Miller's son was a dug-out containing 200 bunks - source: 15th Brigade, AIF, War Diary]

Can anyone pinpoint them on a map for me?

Thanks,

Ken

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I have found a map showing Monsoon Trench, from the 15th Brigade, AIF, War Diary:

MonsoonTrench.jpg

Monsoon Trench (the writing is difficult to read even on the original, which is twice the size of the reproduced image) runs from 22c, through 28a and into 28b

Ken

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I have found a map showing Monsoon Trench, from the 15th Brigade, AIF, War Diary:

MonsoonTrench.jpg

Monsoon Trench (the writing is difficult to read even on the original, which is twice the size of the reproduced image) runs from 22c, through 28a and into 28b

Ken

That's terrific. Many thanks.

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