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Neil Mackenzie

Epehy - what remains

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Neil Mackenzie

Of the various 'Posts' that existed in Epehy (Tottenham, Mclean, Morgan, Procter, Cullen's etc) does anyone know what can still be see today?

 

Fisher's Keep just seems to be a back garden now with nothing to see there.

 

Many thanks

 

Neil

 

 

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Tony Ring

Neil

 

Sounds like you have visited Fishers Keep.    Did you take photos ?

 

My great uncle was an officer in the 3rd Londons who were tasked to clean out Fishers Keep on the 18th Sept 1918.    His body was found  but was not identified for several weeks.

 

Tony

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genegwf

Hello Tony,

What was Fishers Keep and what happened there?

 

Gene

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Tony Ring

Gene.   Sorry about delay.    

 

It is my understanding that Fishers Keep was a fortified bunker/ Machine gun position occupied by a crack unit of German Alpine Troops.  This was in the centre of the village of Epehy where houses had been demolished by shell fire with German troops hiding in the ruins.

 

During the attack on Epehy on the 18th September 1918 by the 12th & 21st Divisions, my Great Uncles regiment, 3rd London's was tasked to take out Fishers Keep.  A French Regiment was supposed to have been on their right to assist but never turned up.    The battle started around 5am and Fishers Keep proved very difficult to take.  Machine guns hidden in the ruins plus the Keep took out a number of our troops.   Eventually a combined attack by the 3rd London's and the 1/1 Cambridgeshire took the Keep late in the afternoon.    Meanwhile other posts..   McPhee, Morgan, McLean etc were taken and the remaining post - Poplar Trench was taken late in the evening.

 

My Great Uncle went missing during the attack on Fishers Keep and a body, one of a number, was found in no mans land days later.  The remains because of its condition were buried as an unknown officer until it was later that his true identity established by his uniform and process of elimination.   It was my relation.  The burial took place in Wood Farm Cemetery and in the haste to bury them, trench graves were dug with later erected headstones touching.   There were 15 bodies in each trench.

 

Unfortunately there is little documentation concerning the battle and the 3rd Londons diary just covers basic information with few names.   I have been fortunate to have K W Mitchinsons book on  Epehy - Hindenburg Line.

 

As I live in New Zealand it has been difficult trying to piece the information together with help from members on this site and relations in the U.K.    The above information is to the best of my knowledge reasonably correct however I would appreciate comments if I am wrong.

 

I am so proud of my Great Uncle who travelled from Greymouth, New Zealand for his OE in the U.K.

 

May he rest in peace.

 

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genegwf

Hello Tony,

 

Thank you your reply and the detail of what took place there.

 

I hope you have the good fortune to visit the area someday.

 

Gene

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Tony Ring

Gene...   thanks but I have left my run too late.      

 

My son who was on his OE from NZ 15 years ago visited his grave and a descendant

living in Hull will pay her respects on the 18th September later this year.

 

Cheers.

 

Tony

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Neil Mackenzie
On 4/29/2018 at 10:11, Tony Ring said:

Sounds like you have visited Fishers Keep.    Did you take photos ?

Just from looking on Google Earth to be honest Tony.

 

Hoping to visit the area in June.

 

Neil

 

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Tony Ring

Neil.

 

I envy you.

 

Please post photos when you come back.

 

Tony

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tom bowler
Posted (edited)
On 01/05/2018 at 10:46, Tony Ring said:

Gene.   Sorry about delay.    

 

It is my understanding that Fishers Keep was a fortified bunker/ Machine gun position occupied by a crack unit of German Alpine Troops.  This was in the centre of the village of Epehy where houses had been demolished by shell fire with German troops hiding in the ruins.

 

During the attack on Epehy on the 18th September 1918 by the 12th & 21st Divisions, my Great Uncles regiment, 3rd London's was tasked to take out Fishers Keep.  A French Regiment was supposed to have been on their right to assist but never turned up.    The battle started around 5am and Fishers Keep proved very difficult to take.  Machine guns hidden in the ruins plus the Keep took out a number of our troops.   Eventually a combined attack by the 3rd London's and the 1/1 Cambridgeshire took the Keep late in the afternoon.    Meanwhile other posts..   McPhee, Morgan, McLean etc were taken and the remaining post - Poplar Trench was taken late in the evening.

 

My Great Uncle went missing during the attack on Fishers Keep and a body, one of a number, was found in no mans land days later.  The remains because of its condition were buried as an unknown officer until it was later that his true identity established by his uniform and process of elimination.   It was my relation.  The burial took place in Wood Farm Cemetery and in the haste to bury them, trench graves were dug with later erected headstones touching.   There were 15 bodies in each trench.

 

Unfortunately there is little documentation concerning the battle and the 3rd Londons diary just covers basic information with few names.   I have been fortunate to have K W Mitchinsons book on  Epehy - Hindenburg Line.

 

As I live in New Zealand it has been difficult trying to piece the information together with help from members on this site and relations in the U.K.    The above information is to the best of my knowledge reasonably correct however I would appreciate comments if I am wrong.

 

I am so proud of my Great Uncle who travelled from Greymouth, New Zealand for his OE in the U.K.

 

May he rest in peace.

 

Just been reading about 2nd Lt. AK Chesterton who won the MC on 18th September 1918. I noted this;

 

His Military Cross was awarded during operations against the German fortifications of the Hindenberg Line.

The citation reads:

"For conspicuous gallantry during the attack on Peizieres September 18th, 1918. He led his platoon in a most determined manner and succeeded in reaching his final objective, despite having hostile machine-gun fire against him. During the operations east of Peizieres on September 19th, he organised bombing attack after bombing attack continually from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. against the enemy who were in Poplar trench. He personally led bombing parties and finally succeeded in capturing Poplar trench killing the machine-gun detachments that barred his way. During the whole of the period in question he displayed fine courage and set a splendid example to his men."

In 1955, A.K. recorded some memories of the affair in Candour:

"One of my last memories of the Western Front was the attainment of an objective - on the high ground beyond Epehy - which entailed our treading the final twenty yards or so without once touching the ground. The carpet was provided by the dead bodies of men of the German Alpine Corps. They were young who died, and we whose path was across them were also young. Too young not to have re-lived that grim progress, and others of a like mind, in many a nightmare for many and many a year."

 

 

Edited by tom bowler

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