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Remembered Today:

periscope house/farm, Pilckem Ridge


jay dubaya
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Looking for Periscope House or Farm which I believe to be around the Pilckem Ridge are and hoping that a kind soul has this marked on a map. This relates to an incident which occurred in August 1917 and any help will be much appreciated

Cheers, Jon

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Here. on this 30th June 17 Trench map (TNA DVD)

Roger

post-42671-0-62444000-1452444948_thumb.j

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And a mention in Marden's History of the Welsh Regiment (transcription by Steve John):

There was a dramatic occurrence on 17th August. As was customary the Brigadier-General and the Commanders of the front line units of the relieving Brigade went up the day before to take over the positions from the formation then holding them. Accordingly Brigadier -General Marden accompanied by Lieutenant-Colonel Hayes, commanding 14th Welsh, with Captains Wilson and Jones Williams, the Company commanders, and Major E.E. Helme (Glamorgan Yeomanry), Second in Command 15th Welsh, preceded to the Headquarters of the 61st Brigade at Periscope House on the top of Pilckem Ridge. [under a new system, in order to economise senior officers, the Commanding Officer and the Second in Command of a Battalion took it in turns to go into action. This permitted the immediate replacement of a senior officer].
Thus Major Brock-Williams had commanded the 14th Welsh on 31st July, and now Major Helme was to command 15th Welsh vice Lieutenant -Colonel Parkinson. The name of the officer in brackets after the unit designates the officer in command on that particular occasion]. This was a small, two room, isolated cottage which had been heavily concreted on the side towards the British, but only lightly in the German direction, on which side there were two exits.
On the conclusion of the conference, the Brigade Major, 61st Brigade, Captain Parry, together with the Trench Mortar Battery Officer, Lieutenant Caskie, and two runners went out of one door, while the 114th Brigade party, less the Brigadier, left by the other door. At that moment a shrapnel shell burst with disastrous effects. Out of the seven only Lieutenant-Colonel Hayes, who always seemed to live a charmed life, though always under fire, was left untouched. Both runners were killed and the remaining officers more or less seriously wounded.
Bernard
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Many thanks Bernard this is indeed the incident I was looking at and note from google earth that a dwelling still stands on the spot where periscope house stood. Its not mentioned in the diary of the 14th Welsh only in your book did I learn of the incident

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The book is 12 years old now and I suspect that I picked the fact up from Marden though it might be mentioned in a brigade level WD, I guess.

Bernard

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Post war building a couple of years ago.

Sorry, I have no photo of Periscope House during the war.

Well, I have one, but the building is hidden by the corner house.

Aurel

post-92-0-20385700-1452511878_thumb.jpg

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Many thanks for the photo Aurel, can I assume that this is the rear of the building and that the plot is sunken from the road?

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J.D.

No, it is the front. Yes, I know, not really attractive. But it used to be an undustrial building, a "maalderij" (English mill, milling house ?)

I'll post a war photo of the Pilkem Crossroads after this.

Aurel

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Aurel, thanks once again for your interest in this but I'm led by the above map to believe that this dwelling stands on the site of Periscope House and not the one posted, do you have co-ordinates for the photo you posted?

post-15439-0-37989300-1452528424_thumb.j

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J.D.,

I assumed that Periscope House was where the letter P of Periscope House is on the trench map, and on the north side of the road.

Was I wrong ?

I haven't forgotten to post the pic I promised. I was about to do that now, but as I have doubts ...)

Aurel

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Aurel

I agree that the location of the house must be north of the road by the "P".

Roger

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This is the Google Earth image of the house north of the road by the letter "P" and clearly tthe same one as identified by Aurel

Roger

post-42671-0-48901600-1452545155_thumb.j

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my sincere apologies to you both, I'm 200 yards down the road. I agree the building in Aurel's post is the correct one

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I had prepared some things yesterday evening, but didn't have the time to post.

Here we go.

J.D., maybe we both are right ?

But ...

I had taken the trench co-ordinates of where I thought (and still I'm sure) Periscope House was : 28.C.2.d.10.95

And that was the building now north side of the road, close to the crossroads.

But then you made me doubt. So I checked John Reed's Gazetteer (wonderful instrument !!!), and there I found the co-ordinates N and E. And these led me to some 200 meters more east (towards Hagebos and Langemark), and to the house you gave a photo of. Did John take a different location, not near the P of Periscope ?

Anyway, I have checked all my trench map fragments (digital form, and the British ones apparetnly all derived from the basic map, anf I think that Periscope House was near the crossroads, and on the north side of the road. An additional reason I beliueve that, is that on maps of during WW1 and before WW1, there was no house on the south side of the road yet.

Anyway, problem solved I can see.

And I will post the war photo of the "invisible" Periscope House later today. I'm a bit in a hurry ... As I often am :-)

Remind me of it when I forget. As I often do. :-)

Aurel


Second aerial.

post-92-0-88825700-1452595887_thumb.jpg

post-92-0-99140000-1452595945_thumb.jpg

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I believe you were right first time Aurel, the location is nearer the crossroads than I first thought and certainly on the north side of the road. I've overlaid the map onto a google earth image which confirms the location nearer the crossroads and not where I first looked 200yards down the road

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You can also tell by comparing the field lines in the trench map and the first image in Aurel's post 16.

Roger

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J.D.,

We proudly present ...

To be honest, I have spent quite some time on this (and similar photos) for two articles in our local history magazine. The main question : are we looking now at the southwest corner of the Pilkem crossroads, or the northeast ? Final conclusion was: very probably northeast. Which would mean that the beer (?) barrels lock off the Pilkemseweg (the road to Ypres).

And so this would also mean that Periscope House cannot be seen as it is behind the house (which was a pub).

And if you happen to know why Periscope House was called Periscope House, let me know.

Meanwhile I'll keep on wondering if I am right when I think that the Land of Green Ginger is in K*******-****-**** :-))

Aurel

post-92-0-40830900-1452616279_thumb.jpg

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And that should be the now photo.

However, when looking at the old one, right in the middle of the photo, there is a house (building). And ... there is no building visible on the (south)side of the road on the map in Roger's posting #3.

Confusing....

Aurel

post-92-0-90036500-1452619921_thumb.jpg

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I see what you mean Aurel, could it be that in the B&W were looking south towards Ypres and the barrels block the road to Boesinghe. Is the structure just left behind the barrels also a building or remains of, I cant imagine it looked like this in August 1917, do you have a date for the photo?

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J.D.,

It would be difficult to explain, really ... In the discussion "what direction are we lookiung at", 3 other photos are to be involved, taken on the same crossroads (but probably different periods).

(Maybe I will post them later.)

And believe there were several factors that were taken into consideration. The exact shape of the house ... (I even contacted a descendant of the publican ! And looked at several pre-war maps.) Like the location of the tree. (And more trees in the other photos.) The location of the barrels ... (Why would the Germans block one of the other 3 roads at the crossroads ? That would not make sense ...) The width of exact direction of the 4 roads ... The fatctthat they are paved (cobblestones) or not ...) Also the direction and size of the shadows. (Where could the sun have been if this pic was taken seaon X or Y or Z.)

And gradually it became an inextricable mess...

But in the end we seemed to agree more orless.... Until yesterday I noticed that building in the middle of the photograph ! :-(

Aurel

Aurel

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Aurel, I apologise if this thread has undone hours of work, but hopefully we can sort it out. If you can, please do post the other photos

Jon

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My brain is starting to hurt!

Roger

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Roger,

Wait till you see the other pics. Something else will be hurting too ! :-)

Though I don't know what.

I'm not familiar enough with your ... Well, body. :-)

Aurel

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