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International Trench and Trench B, near Ravine Wood, Zillebeke


jane_sandy
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Hi chaps,

Any intell on where exactly this might have been?

Am on the trail of the 2nd East Yorkshires in February 1915. They had a complex of trenches here, between Hill 60 and The Bluff ... next to Ravine Wood (now known as Molenbos). 'International Trench' was a shared trench apparently, hence the name. Trench B was manned by part of the 2nd Bn East Yorkshire Regiment on 17th February 1915. It was undermined by the enemy who then launched an assault following the blast.

Today, this area lies in Domaine de Palingbeek and I've just returned from a visit during which I had hoped to pinpoint a mine crater. Although I spotted one in a field outside of Ravine Wood (where there are a chain of natural ponds), it's hard to tell whether this is the right one .... if indeed the actual crater still exists after four more years of warfare and nearly 100 years on. [incidentally, this is a most beautiful spot which has evolved - with a little professional help - into a natural paradise for walkers, cyclists and, indeed, family activities. I would thoroughly recommend its inclusion in any visit to the area.]

Maybe the exact site will never be revealed or maybe I should look harder? I'm a real novice when it comes to this kind of 'field work', so would be most grateful for some advice.

Very many thanks in advance & regards,

Annie

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Annie,

You question caught my attention immediately, for I spent dozens of hours in International Trench, but mine was in Boezinge, north of Ypres.

However, the answer is here : the other I.T. is south of the canal (Ypres - Comines), in the Palingbeek Domein, village of Hollebeke (not Wijtschate as said in one of the postings, but corrected afterwards).

http://1914-1918.inv...showtopic=94154

Aurel

(Edited : Sorry, realizing now is does not answer your problem. I am even confused now : was Int. Trench south of the canal ? For I see The Ravine was north of it, close to where now Woods Cemetery is. Confusing. That is indeed where there are 3 or so natural ponds.) Or were you referring to south of the canal, where the Golf Course is ? There are natural ponds there too.

Hopefully someone knows the answer.)

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The trench being held by the 2.East Yorks that was blown in by a mine (at 5.30am on the 17th Feb, not the 15th) was 'B.2' at Zwarteleen but, earlier in February they had been immediately north of the canal (though 'D' Coy occupied positions on the southern bank). The (unofficially named) 'International Trench' referred to in the Wyrall history (but not in the War Diary as far as I can see (but I only glanced at it)) was later renamed to 'Wine Street' and did, indeed, run through Ravine Wood.

Dave

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Hi Aurel,

Somehow I knew you'd pick this one up - I've been reading other posts you've made with great interest! Thank you for getting back to me so quickly.

The area I'm interested in is North of the Yser-Comines Canal. The trenches run in a diagonal line (roughly) from The Bluff to the village of Verbrandenmolen, not quite reaching the village. They were, as far as I can tell, just to the East of Ravine Wood.

I see Dave has now replied too ... so I'll continue in a reply to him also.

Your interest and support is much appreciated.

Many thanks & regards

Annie

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Dave,

Very many thanks for piling in and picking up on the story.

Looks like my 'field work' has been rather unsatisfactory ... it would have been better if I'd been in the right place!!! However, it is now a lovely location ... Palingbeek, that is.

The subject of my research (Pte George NEWMAN) did indeed die on 17th February - thanks for picking up on my earlier error (which for future clarity, I'll correct/edit). It was not completely clear from the material I had that Zwarteleen was a 'different' location - although I was aware of a village by that name.

Is there any chance that you have any image/maps of the trenches in the Zwarteleen area? Or maybe you know of their existence. Do you also happen to know if the mine crater caused by the explosion under trench B.2 is still visible? I noted that Caterpillar Crater is highlighted locally, but seem to recall that it was created during the series of explosions along the Messines Ridge two years later, in 1917.

I will be examining histories and diaries of other regiments in the division too, quite often you can triangulate to form a fuller picture.

Thanks once again & kind regards

Annie

PS: Our ground work did not entirely go to waste - apart from enjoying the lovely well-maintained countryside, we established that the Palingbeek Visitors Centre lies on the site of the former Bn HQ at Ferme la Chappelle ... and caused quite a stir in their front office!

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I've nothing for the right time (agonisingly, I've got the area slightly to the north well covered for this period!), but this map from a little later is pretty clear, even though the German line is slightly more advanced than it was in February 1915. Reading the descriptions I believe 'B2' to have been in the area of the two mine craters depicted in the centre of the image (way behind the German frontline by the time of the map). Unfortunately for you, this would mean that there is no longer anything to see as its now been built over (if travelling from Zillebeke, turn right at the 'Hill 60' sign and you're exactly on the site... its now a road junction!)

Dave

post-357-0-61609200-1342010663_thumb.jpg

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This (rotated) trench sketch map dating from December 1914 confirms my above supposition... B trench is on the Hill 60 side of the road. The moment that you turn off the main road towards Hill 60 , you're on the spot!

post-357-0-37224900-1342011297_thumb.jpg

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Another (later dated - 1916) map with the area highlighted....

post-357-0-79860800-1342011705_thumb.jpg

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Annie & Dave,

Let it be clear : the Palingbeek (Bluff) area is not really my specialty. That is the reason I went back there a week ago, and joined this Topic : to learn more. Especially from Dave !)

I had already scanned these two pics, aerial photo Ravine, and part of the Bluff area (Palingbeek) with the Ravine just south of #6, before I saw Dave's posting, making me realize that the area you were after is Zwarteleen. I'll post them anyway, Others who might want to learn too, might find them useful. (On the aerial photo, 14 March 1916, the Ravine (darker stripe) is recognizable, with two water-filled mine craters bottom right corner.)

Both pics taken from : Van The Bluff naar die Grosse Bastion - Het provinciaal domein De Palingbeek tijdens de Eerste Wereldoorlog, Wandeling van 10 km, 7,5 km of 4,3 km, tekst Dominiek Dendooven, s.d.

Aurel

Photo 1

Photo 2

post-92-0-74304300-1342012113_thumb.jpg

post-92-0-86853400-1342012160_thumb.jpg

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The small pencil-drawn 'salient' on this December 1914 trench sketch map also depicts the area shown in post #7 ('B.2' later being described as an extremely exposed position slightly advanced of the main line and suffering from much enfilade fire - looks like that's the place then!) ......

post-357-0-91827000-1342012251_thumb.jpg

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Dave,

Wow ... very many thanks for the images and the intell. I'm happy that the mystery has been solved.

The only irony is that we went to Hill 60 - only because it was there, not that we needed to see it - right after checking out Palingbeek for a second time and finding that small crater in a field near Ravine Wood! The really funny thing is that I was looking for a cafe with a rest room, the Hill 60 Cafe was closed, so I reckon I walked right up to the road junction you mention ... I just checked again on Streetview! It's a fairly modern housing development. Bizarre or what?

Aurel,

Many thanks for the further info on Palingbeek, or rather from the literature ... we have the same book, only in English! I'll study it carefully again, as I am still interested in the site, but in a different context now - the 2nd East Yorkshire Regt was there BEFORE going onto Zwarteleen. How amazing that you and I were probably wandering around the Domain in the same timeframe - we went on Friday 29th June and again on Monday 2nd July ... around the middle of the day. When were you there? Incidentally, I have contact details for a guy who is a local 'expert' - work has prevented me from writing to him so far, but I'll be sure to post again if there is some more detail relevant to your/our studies.

I hope soon that my eye will be 'in' to look properly at trench maps and aerial views - this is my first encounter and I'm finding it tough. Talking of encounters, do you know of the 'Kenningszentrum' (knowledge/research centre) at the IFF Museum in Ieper? We dropped in there (to find out what resources they held, with a view to returning later this year) and discovered they have a selection of regimental histories and a cabinet containing some trench maps, plus a new PC-based system. The latter is basically a map with green dots on, if you click on a dot an aerial shot of that area appears. I believe this is a collation of allied and enemy photographs. Well, it may actually be small beer to you guys, but I thought I'd flag it up anyway.

Very many thanks to you both for your time, interest and efforts on my behalf.

With kindest regards

Annie

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Annie,

No, I was in the Palingbeek Domein on Saturday 7 July, in the afternoon, with an American friend. I was not near the Ravine , but at the Bluff, wanting to see the craters (again).

And the Documentatiecentrum of the IFFM I know very well, though I have not been back since they are located now in the Cloth Hall.

In your posting, to Dave, you mention "that small crater in a field near Ravine Wood". Is that a crater that can be seen in the bottom lefty corner (actually a double crater) of the aerial view that I posted, taken from Dominiek Dendooven's booklet ? One day I may go back there, maybe in winter, when there is more visibility, less foliage.

Aurel

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Aurel,

Ahhh ... so we missed by a few days! It would have been too great a coincidence!

That crater I mentioned is a small single crater. If I'm looking at the right one in the aerial view, that's not it. The one we saw was just on the cafeteria side of Molenbos. There's a small road (called Molenbos itself I believe) with a few houses, then it becomes parkland ... if you continue straight down to a grassy crossroads, on your left is this small crater. I tried to insert a photo, but it didn't work.

Kind regards

Annie

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  • 5 months later...

That small crater was dug by the Palingbeek workers in mid 2011, which is why it's not on the aerial photo. It think it must be part of improving the tourist experience 2014-18.

But opposite it are the two Ravine craters, not pretty much impossible to make out anymore due to natural forces over 97 years.

Hugh

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  • 4 years later...
On 7/10/2012 at 23:30, jane_sandy said:

Hi chaps,

Any intell on where exactly this might have been?

Am on the trail of the 2nd East Yorkshires in February 1915. They had a complex of trenches here, between Hill 60 and The Bluff ... next to Ravine Wood (now known as Molenbos). 'International Trench' was a shared trench apparently, hence the name. Trench B was manned by part of the 2nd Bn East Yorkshire Regiment on 17th February 1915. It was undermined by the enemy who then launched an assault following the blast.

Today, this area lies in Domaine de Palingbeek and I've just returned from a visit during which I had hoped to pinpoint a mine crater. Although I spotted one in a field outside of Ravine Wood (where there are a chain of natural ponds), it's hard to tell whether this is the right one .... if indeed the actual crater still exists after four more years of warfare and nearly 100 years on. [incidentally, this is a most beautiful spot which has evolved - with a little professional help - into a natural paradise for walkers, cyclists and, indeed, family activities. I would thoroughly recommend its inclusion in any visit to the area.]

Maybe the exact site will never be revealed or maybe I should look harder? I'm a real novice when it comes to this kind of 'field work', so would be most grateful for some advice.

Very many thanks in advance & regards,

Annie

 

This posting has just caught my eye as interesting

My great uncle Frank Monaghan Private 3428 “D” Coy 2nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers was killed around here De Palingbeek (The eel brook) on the 20th February 1915

He and others were buried at a cemetery at La Chapelle Farm

Landgoed Palingbeek today (eel brook estate)

Which was later destroyed and bodies never recovered

Their names later added to memorials to the missing

 

Here is what 2nd NF War Diary has

 

Saturday 20th February 1915

Arrived at billets at Kruisstraat at 5am

Battalion billeted in houses on each side of the street

At 4 pm Battalion was called out and ordered to proceed to La Chapelle Farm, and on reaching this point were moved up into a large wood

At 11.15pm orders were received to attack two post trenches in conjunction with the Cheshire Regiment

First attack consisting of 60 men of A Company, 60 men of C Company and 60 men of D Company in 3 lines moved through a thick wood and came to an Abatiss in front of the trench they were attacking

(An Abatiss was a field fortification consisting of an obstacle formed of the branches of trees laid in a row, with the sharpened tops directed outwards, towards the enemy. The trees are usually interlaced or tied with wire. Abatiss are used alone or in combination with wire entanglements and other obstacles)

And in getting through this and attempting to charge were practically wiped out

Lieutenant’s Legard, Brownlow and Jenkins being wounded

A second attack ordered for 2am consisting of B Company and details of D and A Company up to 150 men failed also for the same reason as the first

Battalion was withdrawn at 5am and marched back to Kruisstraat

Casualties for night of 20th and 21st 30 Officers wounded and 61 other ranks

6 Other ranks killed and 40 missing

 

Sunday 21st February 1915

Spent the day in billets at Kruisstraat and in the evening moved out at 9pm to the Infantry Barracks at Ypres

Casualties for second period in trenches 5 Officers wounded

20 other ranks killed, 105 wounded, 43 missing

 

Monday 22nd February 1915

Spent the day in the Infantry Barracks at Ypres

In the evening received orders to move back next morning to Bailleul

Men were given new boots which were urgently required

 

Tuesday 23rd February 1915

Marched at 6.30am via Vlamertinge and Westoutre to Bailleul which we reached at 11.30am and were placed in Billets in a side street off Main Square

Battalion left the 28th division and joined the 5th division for a month due to the heavy casualties in the 5th division

  

There are 30 soldiers of 2nd NF from that time commemorated on a memorial to the missing and two in a cemetery

 

Edwin Abbott. L/ Serjeant 2894. Ypres (Menin Gate)

William Whitfield Anderson. Private 3110. Ypres (Menin Gate)

Bertie George Annetts. Serjeant 7878."B" Coy. Ypres (Menin Gate)

Thomas Blades. Private 8930. Ypres (Menin Gate)

Alexander Robertson Boothman. From Jarrow Private 2822. Ypres (Menin Gate)

John Burn. Private 8806. Bedford House Cemetery

William Burnip. Serjeant 7839. Ypres (Menin Gate)

John Butler. Private 3295. Ypres (Menin Gate)

James Michael Cavagin. Private 2923. Ypres (Menin Gate)

Thomas Alfred Charlesworth. L/Cpl. 1627. Ypres (Menin Gate)

Peter Cornwall. Private 8735. Ypres (Menin Gate)

William Donnison. Private 12743. Ypres (Menin Gate)

Harry Forrester. L/Cpl. 2706. Ypres (Menin Gate)

William Arthur Fuller. Private 2308. Ypres (Menin Gate)

John Gilbert Hope. Private 8745. Ypres (Menin Gate)

William Arthur Hurley. Private 2293. Ypres (Menin Gate)

Samuel Albert Jackson. Serjeant 1131. Ypres (Menin Gate)

William Campbell McDonald. Cpl. 2640. Ypres (Menin Gate)

Frank Monaghan. Born and lived Jarrow Private 3428. Hooge Crater Cemetery (Special Memorial)

Henry Morriss. Serjeant 1271. "A" Coy. Ypres (Menin Gate)

Joseph Nutley. Private 3408 "B" Coy. Ypres (Menin Gate)

John James O'Hare. Private 8321. Ypres (Menin Gate)

Tom Priestley. L/Cpl. 819. Ypres (Menin Gate)

Robert Reed. Private 2459. Ypres (Menin Gate)

James Robertson. Private 8768. Ypres (Menin Gate)

John Rudd. Private 2354. Ypres (Menin Gate)

Arthur Slingsby. L/Cpl. 475. Ypres (Menin Gate)

Hugh Smith. Private 2458. Ypres (Menin Gate)

John Ernest Spencer. Private 3049. Ypres (Menin Gate)

Frederick Webb. Private 3141. (Dow) Bedford House Cemetery

Wilfred George Woodward. Serjeant 9798. Ypres (Menin Gate)

Joseph Wright. Born and lived Jarrow Private 3416. Ypres (Menin Gate)

 

Addendum 16th May 2017

(This may help someone researching the same)

The Diary states 20 died and 43 missing at that time in Palinbeek Woods - north east of La Chapelle Farm which totals 63

So that's still another 31 of 2nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers missing and unaccounted for in Palingbeek Woods on the 20th February 1915?

Edited by Curlew1919
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Curlew1919,

 

I don't know if this may help. In my notes, I find (re La Chapelle Farm Cem., which was next to the present Chester Farm Cem.) :

 

"17 British graves, Febr-March 1915. Later moved to Hooge Crater Cemetery".

 

Aurel

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Thank you for replying Aurel

If you look at the list of names you will see

Frank Monaghan. Born and lived Jarrow Private 3428. Hooge Crater Cemetery (Special Memorial)

 

They could not find Frank Monaghan's grave or his body at La Chapelle Farm Cemetery

The headstone at Hooge Crater Cemetery (Special Memorial) is as it says just a memorial

His remains are still somewhere at the old La Chapelle Farm Cemetery site

Todays Langoed Palingbeek (which I take to mean eels brook estate)

 

Out of the other 31 on that list

2 were buried at the Field Hospital site at Bedford House Cemetery

The other 29 are on the memorial to the missing at Menin Gate

So they too were either buried at La Chapelle Farm Cemetery and they could not find the bodies to rebury them

Or

As I think their remains are still out in Palinbeek (eels brook) Forest along with many others like the 2nd Cheshires fighting alongside them

And the 1st Bedfordshires, 1st Dorsetshires and 1st Lincolnshires in the trenches there February 1915

 

And what about the 31 missing according to the official 2nd NF War Diary? (it states 20 killed and 43 missing = 63 and the 32 accounted for in my last post which leaves 31 not accounted for)

Were the 31 taken prisoner? (I don't think so)

 

According to this lad Henry Guy who was there

There was 1200 charged (more than half the 2nd NF and more than half the 2nd Cheshires) on one night on the 20th February and only 210 returned to the trenches?

Mind the officers sharp pulled them out of the action after one night of fighting

They had next to nobody left to protect them

 

Letter off Private Henry Guy 3419 of 2nd NF 19th March 1915

 

fma01.jpg

fma02.jpg

Edited by Curlew1919
additions
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Update:

 

Just had a really fast response from CWGC (I sent them the letter in my above post plus a few more)

Here it is (name of lady in Records section protected)

 

Thank you for your email and the attachments you kindly sent  regarding  Private Monaghan.
 
You will be pleased to hear that we have amended our records and this will appear on the website at the next update and where possible we will make arrangements to amend the special memorial headstone.
 
Thank you again  for bringing this to our attention.
 
Kind regards
 
***** *******
Records Section
 
***** *******
Records Administrator  Research/Library

Commonwealth War Graves Commission
2 Marlow Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 7DX, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1628 634221  |  Ext: 1201  |  Direct: +44 1628 507201  |  Fax:  +44 1628 771208  |  Website: www.cwgc.org

 

So at the next update at CWGC:

 

Frank Monaghan Private 3428
2nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers
Age 23 who died on 22nd February 1915
 

Will be amended to:

Frank Monaghan Private 3428
‘D’ Coy. 2nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers
Age 23 who died on 20th February 1915

 

So what some will say?

 

On the 20th February 2nd NF were at Palingbeek Woods north east of La Chapelle Farm

On the 22nd February 2nd NF were at the Infantry Barracks at Ypres (5 to 6 kilometres away)

En route to Bailleul next day over the border in France 20 kilometres away

"What a difference a day makes".....

Edited by Curlew1919
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