Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Ypres Trenches near Kruistaat.


Simon Mills

Recommended Posts

Can anyone provide any information on the location of the trenches occupied by the 3rd Battalion Middlesex Regiment on 14th/15thFebruary 1915?

I'm trying to find the location where one of my great uncles was killed. All I know for sure is that according to the war diary the 3rd Middlesex Regiment was billeted at Kruistaat (I think now the south west suburb of Ypres?) on 11th February 1915 before moving to the trenches the following day. None of the trenches in question have a proper name, but there are references to M, N, O & P trenches (particularly N, O & P trenches) where most of the fighting seemed to take place on 14th February.

Looking at the attached trench map I can see that there is a P& O trench marked to the south west of St. Eloi; I do not know if this is the trench in question, although having looked at a larger map of the area it does seem to be in the general area and not too far from Kruistaat.

Another possible clue might be that the East Surrey Regiment (I think the 2nd Battalion) was apparently also in these particular trenches from10th to 12th February.

Does anyone know if I am in the ball park, and if I am then is there a larger and more detailed map of the trenches in this area?

Many thanks,

Simon.

post-85735-0-83642200-1325781925.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the P&O trench marked on the map may refer to the Maritime shipping line Simon, the fact it's fairly adjacent to the Diependaalbeek may have been the reason it was given the name P&O. Especially if the stream had burst its banks and flooded the trench area...

regards

Tom

Link to post
Share on other sites
connaughtranger

The East Surrey history, but not their War Diary, which is online, states that the 2nd Battalion took over a portion of the "...front line trenches between St Eloi and the Ypres-Comines Canal, near Oosthoek. These trenches were lettered 'M' to 'T' from St Eloi eastwards..."

According to the Middx history the 3rd Battalion diary didn't provide any information about the newly taken over trenches, their first experience in France. The history relies on the entry in the 85th Brigade Diary for an indication of the front taken over by the 2nd East Surreys, which was subsequently taken over by the 3rd Middx:

"(2nd East Surreys) were guided to their places in the trenches about 600 yards SE of St Eloi, extending for 250 yards towards the canal and SW of Oosthoek"

In early 1915 maps were taken from Belgian drawings and rarely showed the British Front Line; even the enemy trenches weren't named. Your best bet would be to look at the 85th Bde diary for a map on which some kind staff officer might have hand drawn the British Front Line

Regards

Martin

Link to post
Share on other sites

Tom: Thank you for the hint about P&O Trench. It looks as if this particular curve ball put me in completely the wrong area, although interestingly I wasn't too far out...

Martin: Thanks for the information regarding the location of trenches M thru T to the south east of St Eloi. Your location seems to match very nicely with the entry in the 2nd East Surreys war diary of 9th February 1915, which says that they were in the trenches to the SSE of Ypres and although a quick look at the area on Google Map unfortunately no longer shows any trace of the trenches in question, there is a handy little tree-lined lane and farmhouse in the approximate area which makes it easier to locate.

Thanks again to you both,

Simon.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

This map depicts the trench sectors as recorded on French Army mapping from the end of November 1914 (after the stablisation of the lines following 1st Ypres). 'G' to 'M' sectors correspond exactly with those as depicted on British maps of March 1915 so 'N' to 'P' possibly correspond accordingly also?

Dave

post-357-0-85666500-1326797295.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

This map depicts the trench sectors as recorded on French Army mapping from the end of November 1914 (after the stablisation of the lines following 1st Ypres). 'G' to 'M' sectors correspond exactly with those as depicted on British maps of March 1915 so 'N' to 'P' possibly correspond accordingly also?

Dave

Hello Dave,

I think I saw your other post in the Damm Strasse thread but thanks again for uploading this image -- based on the information that I have to hand I think that it's now pretty certain that we're in the right area.

Regards,

S.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...

Over the years on the forum there has been much talk of trenches/sectors at St Eloi called "M", "N", "O" and "P" where there was a great deal of activity (but not much movement) for most of the war.

I wanted to draw Pals' attention to Dave's excellent map (thanks Dave!) in post #5, taken from French 1914 sources, because British maps don't mark these letters (or not the ones I have seen) and they do seem right to me. Even if the boundaries between the sectors did changed a little in later months and years, I think that they are very useful because loads of different battalions held these trenches over the years, and so many War Diaries mention St Eloi trenches "M" - "P".

William

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

I wanted to draw Pals' attention to Dave's excellent map (thanks Dave!) in post #5, taken from French 1914 sources, because British maps don't mark these letters ...

Some do. I've got a couple of February/March 1915 British maps that are marked up as such (well, up to and including the 'M' Sector anyway, which is why I was quite confident in the accuracy while constructing that map and know that those sectors at least correspond with the earlier French ones and , therefore , have no reason to doubt that the more northerly sectors correspond too).

Interestingly,and to dispel a possible image that my map may conjur up in some, the only sector in this area that consisted of a long , solid trenchline in February/March 1915 was the 'F' Sector (between 'G' and just south of Spanbroekmolen), the remainder (between 'E' (the most southerly sector I have a trenchmap of for here at this time) and 'P' consisting of short , individual defensive trenches (interspaced with either barbed wire or just fresh air!) backed up with fortified strong-points a short distance to the rear. The German line at this point was (quite unsurprisingly?) unbroken and continuous.

Dave (you're quite welcome BTW :D )

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

I am wondering if we may possibly be confusing trenches with sectors?

According to the map in post # 5 "O" Sector is just to the west of St. Eloi, but subsequent research following my original post now indicates that the "O" Trench which involved the 3rd Middlesex Regiment on 14th/15th February 1915 was located near Triangular Wood.

If you check out this thread you'll see what I mean: http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=189218&hl=

S.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am wondering if we may possibly be confusing trenches with sectors?

It's not a confusion between trench names and sectors as they were interchangeable (ie. 'G Sector' frontline trenches were G1, G2, G3 & G4, 'J Sector' trenches were J1, J2 & J3, etc etc), more of a case of possibility of confusion in time-frame. Don't forget my caveat that the map I constructed is based on the French trenches of November/December 1914 and represents the sectors (and, therefore, trench letter designations) at the time of the French occupation and up to the British take-over.

The British continued with the French designations up to (at least) the 'M Sector' ( trenches M1, M2, M3 & M4) for some time after their take-over but, in the St.Eloi area, there were certainly some changes and new works constructed (with at least one 'letter named' trench being named after its shape rather that from its sector designation) with a possible re-name of other trenches in the area (which certainly happened by April 1915) making the possibility that the supplied map is slightly 'out' in the northern areas. One thing that has confused me for the area around St. Eloi, though is that I have encountered a few (British drawn) trench sketches from early 1915 that must have been held upside-down when being named as they have the sector names reversed ('N' followed by 'P' followed by 'O') and another that totally omits the 'O' Sector ... which may actually have eventually been the case with the British (the letters 'I' and 'O' being abandoned to avoid confusion with '1' and '0'). There is also the chance that different units gave trenches different designations during their own particular occupancies only adding to the confusion.

Dave

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 years later...
Guest 1stSuffolks1915

I don't know if this topic is still live, however, I have information regarding the 1st Battalion Suffolk regiment in the Salient in 1915. my research has been based around my 2 great uncles who were both killed within a few days of each other.

NUNN, PRIVATE CHARLES WILLIAM, 8093, 1st Bn. Suffolk Regiment, 15th February
1915, Age 22. Market Harborough, Leics.

NUNN, PRIVATE WILLIAM, 7759, 1st Bn. Suffolk Regiment, 5th February 1915.
Age 23, Market Harborough, Leics.

William Nunn was the first soldier in the 1st Battalion Suffolk Regiment to be killed in the Great War and is mentioned in the Regimental history. From my research I believe that Charles was killed during a substantial action around 'O' Trench that the battalion were involved in. If anybody is interested in any information I may have, or has anything that would be of helpful in my research, then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure if I can add very much re. the 1st Suffolks...

The 2nd Battalion Suffolk Regiment apparently relieved the 2nd Buffs in O Trench in the early hours of 16th February, but I have no information on the activities of the 1st Battalion Suffolk Regiment on 15th February. According to the 85th Infantry Brigade War Diary, the three units involved in the attack on 15th February to recover O Trench appear to have been the 2nd Battalion the Buffs, 2nd Battalion East Surrey Regiment and 2nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers.

S

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...