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Remembered Today:

La Signy Farm, Serre


horrocks
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20160928_0496_2_1024.jpg

 

One of the old farmworker's cottages at La Signy, which are taking on the kind of appearance perhaps more reminiscent of 1915 than now!

 

I photographed them, with the permission of the landowner, a couple of weeks ago, for a Wilfred Owen related project. Although Owen was briefly billeted in the cellars of the ruined farm, such maps as I have seen suggest that there wasn't actually a building on this particular spot then, however, I am content to suspend disbelief for the purposes of ambiance. I think there was a building known as Red Cottage just beyond the foot of the line of trees - its ghost can still be seen on GE images.

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Thank you John. The map again confirms no cottage at this location during the war - it is on the driveway to the farm. Interestingly, the line of trees, or its predecessor, was there too. The location of Red Cottage can be clearly seen on Google Earth images as a mark in the field.

 

This extremely evocative passage of Manning's would indicate that the communication trench that took him to the front at Serre was probably Railway, rather than Southern, avenue.

 

'In the distance a star-shell would rise, and as its light dilated, wavered and failed, one saw against it the shattered trunks and boughs of trees, lunatic arms uplifted in imprecation, and as though petrified in a moment of shrieking agony. The communication-trench was deep, and one looked up out of it to a now tranquil sky, against which the same stark boughs were partly visible. Then on the right appeared the ruins of a shattered farm, an empty corpse of a building. There was for Bourne an inexplicable fascination in that melancholy landscape: it was so still, so peaceful, and so extraordinarily tense. One heard a shell travel overhead, or the distant rattle of a machine-gun, but these were merely interruptions of a silence which seemed to touch the heart with a finger of ice. It was only really broken when a man, stumbling on a defective or slippery duck-board, uttered under his breath a monosyllabic curse...

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Did you find the concrete observation post?

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Hi Horrocks.

 

The Red Cottage was known as the RED HOUSE in November 1916 and was used as a Advanced Dressing Station (No5 Field Ambulance). 

 

Regards Andy

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Not sure of the timescale of the book referred to , but this is the only OP, British, which overlooks La Signy, ( sited in the line of trees to the east/south of the farm) dating from 1918 when the farm was the German front line and was under direct observation from the front British trench, Jeremiah Trench. The access trenches to it were Cheeron Trench, dating from 1916, and Newgate Street.  

 

Can't find pic at present, will look if anyone wants.

 

Peter

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I didn't see the observation post. Is it the one that underwent some kind of archaelogical investigation a while back, I saw a video of it somewhere?

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Yes that's the one, same as Peter refers too.

 

TT

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  • 2 years later...

Hi there,  Newbie here.  Can anyone share a lat/long for Red Cottage or La Signy farm. 

 

My wife's great uncle was killed in the area in 1918 (4 or 5th of April).  He was 2nd Bat, 3rd Rifle Brig (NZ).  

 

We're trying to build an understanding about him as the family disowned him after the war.

 

Cheers

ANT

 

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Hi Ant,

start a new thread in soldiers forum with your great uncles details, name and address or area  or any other information eg regiment you have so we can help a bit better.

Its probably what he saw and went through that disturbed him which has led to his attitude to the family or his actions that upset the family enough to disown him.

my maternal grandfather lost 4 brothers and a couple of cousins from next village, which upset him and my father said he was a awkward person to live with when grandfather came to live with them between 1955 and 1963 .

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Hi Ant and welcome to the forum.  Agree with chaz that starting a specific thread with his name and what you know already will get a lot of help.

 

Expand the image below to see Red Cottage (blue icon at 50.105400, 2.641378), la Signy Farm and at the bottom right, Serre.  On the right is a March 1916 map overlaid on Google Satellite View.

image.png.6147ebfb239de6ed7f15e9c6017ad0b4.png

 

Google Street View shows the entrance to modern Lassigny:

image.png.b65934dcf47ac7246f04d19d5a269929.png

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From "Gazetteer of the Western Front" compiled by John Reed

 

La Signy Farm, Hebuterne     50°06.116’N 2°38.291’E

Red Cottage, Hebuterne        50°06.313’N 2°38.473’E

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