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Gareth Davies

Operations on the Belgian Coast 1917

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Gareth Davies

I am looking for primary & secondary source material relating to the planning of the proposed operations on the Belgian coast in 1917 and to the training of the 1st Division for that operation.  I have a decent record of the tank detachment's activities and I have the Royal Engineers Journal of June 1924.  Has anyone looked at any 1st Division records for that time and if so, do they have much of note in them?  

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RussT

I have been "studying" operations in this sector during the summer of 1917 for some time but mainly focused on the actual events (Operation Strandfest) rather than the proposed operations (Operation Hush), and more on the infantry units of 32nd Division rather than 1st Division (both units being original members of XV Corps, 4th Army in early summer 1917).

 

Nevertheless, in order to appreciate the bigger picture I have looked at some primary sources for the 1st Division.

 

Are you more interested in Hush? If so, there is a good overview of the logistical planning in the 1st Division HQ A&Q War Diary (snippet from page 1 attached).

 

I have also learnt a lot from the various XV Corp HQ and 4th Army HQ War Diaries (although I can't recall how much those diaries have on Hush).

 

Regards

 

 

Russ

 

 

Hush 1.JPG

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Gareth Davies

Thanks Russ.  Yes, it's the landing that didn't take place (which I don't think was called Op Hush at the time) that I am interested in. I will track down the addendum next time I am at Kew.

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RussT

If you can get access to Ancestry, then the 1st Division HQ A&Q War Diary is on there, otherwise downloadable from TNA.

 

Likewise, not sure if it were named Operation Hush at the time or was given that name some time later.

 

But I have comes across on a few occasions in unit diaries oblique references to "Hush" so it seems some informal reference to that name at the time was prevalent. If you ever find out, let me know.

 

Snippets from the 23rd and 26th Field Company, RE War Diaries July 1917 - they were involved in the constriction of Le Clipon Camp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hush 23rd Field Co RE 9th July 1917.JPG

Hush 26th Field Co RE 1st July 1917.JPG

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Gareth Davies

Ah yes, so they do.  Holy Hush.  Hushville.  

 

I don't have Ancestry but I can wait until I get to the NA, thank you.

 

 

Edited by Gareth Davies

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yperman
On ‎24‎/‎04‎/‎2018 at 14:58, Gareth Davies said:

I am looking for primary & secondary source material relating to the planning of the proposed operations on the Belgian coast in 1917 

Admiral Bacon's 'The concise story of the Dover Patrol' pp206  and pp 256 on   discusses his plans  for a "great landing" using tanks and quite a lot of information on the technical issues.

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Gareth Davies

I didn't know of that book, thank you. 

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JMB1943
Posted (edited)

Gareth,

 

I have transcribed the relevant sections from the War Diary of 2 RSR, which was in 2nd Brigade of 1st Divn.

Let us see if I can attach them.......apparently not!

Will pm the file shortly.

 

Regards,

JMB

 

Cannot PM, due to file extension not being one of those that are allowed.

Any way to give a Word file one of the allowed extensions ?

 

 

Edited by JMB1943
Add info

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JMB1943

Gareth,

 

Have given the Word doc a .txt extension.

 

Coastal Landing.txt

 

Regards,

JMB

 

 

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
1 hour ago, JMB1943 said:

Any way to give a Word file one of the allowed extensions ?

.rtf is a format that keeps Word word processing codes, but does not transfer any macros that are potentially troublesome and which this site doesn't allow.

(File-Save As- .rtf)

,txt will only transfer the text, without the layout codes that make it look pretty.

Likewise, Excel spreadsheets can be saved and sent as .csv files.

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JMB1943

Thanks to DByS, here is the transcription as an .rtf extension----original layout and font, so much easier to read.

 

Coastal Landing-2.rtf

 

Regards,

JMB

 

 

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Gareth Davies
Posted (edited)

Thanks JMB.

Edited by Gareth Davies

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr

You might obtain some useful information regarding logistics from the war diaries of XV Corps Siege Park (604 MT Co.ASC), in WO95/931.

Although they contain lots of details of lorries, guns, tractors and other vehicles etc moving in and out  of the sector duting the summer of 1917.

The SMTOs in particular were quite obsessive about records, although I think they are a bit patchy due to the HQ having been partly destroyed by a German shell.

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Gareth Davies

Good thinking Dai, ta.

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petwes
Posted (edited)

Excuse my ignorance please. SMTO's?

EDIT:

Senior Mechanical Transport Officer I assume answering my own question.

Peter

Edited by petwes

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
3 hours ago, petwes said:

Excuse my ignorance please. SMTO's?

EDIT:

Senior Mechanical Transport Officer I assume answering my own question.

Peter

Yes.

The ASC MT diaries usually have one diary by the HQ, that deals with general stuff, and the SMTO diary that lists how many lorries were working that day, how much fuel was carried, and map locations of where lorry and cat parks were located.

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petwes

Thanks for the reply.  I have an interest in the Nieupoort area of operations as both my Grandfathers served there in July/August 1917. Having looked at the Siege Park and SMTO diaries I was struck by their unusual format.  Both are written in the form of histories rather than a series of daily entries. There would appear to be two or three different revisions of the history in each file. Was this perhaps a result of the earlier loss of records? 

So far I haven't found references to the individual siege batteries I'm interested in but never the less found them an interesting read covering an area I know little about.  Being technically minded I was fascinated by the "Frost" precautions for vehicles towards the end of the SMTO file.  It contains detailed instruction for how every engine's cooling system has to be drained completely every might and refilled in the morning. The number of different models described surprised me. All the drain points and unions to be loosened are listed and whether the vehicle should be parked nose or tail up or even sloping to the left or right. I pity the Daimler drivers who had to use a syringe to remove water from parts of the cooling system!

I also hadn't appreciated how much the existence of a "Belgium sandwich" in the middle of the sector affected transportation, I had been aware of Furnes being a restricted zone but didn't know how extensive the region was.   

 

Sorry Gareth for slightly diverting your thread.

Regards

Peter

 

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Gareth Davies

Go for it Peter. There is much much more to the op than my narrow area of interest.

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
1 hour ago, petwes said:

Having looked at the Siege Park and SMTO diaries I was struck by their unusual format.  Both are written in the form of histories rather than a series of daily entries. There would appear to be two or three different revisions of the history in each file. Was this perhaps a result of the earlier loss of records? 

Yes I think so. There are hints aren't there, that Corps HQ was a bit frustrated at the lateness of this Siege Park's diaries appearing on their desks. I've put the format down to loss of contemporary records. 

Frost precautions were interesting. Quite clear that anyone responsible for  frost damage to rads or engine blocks were in big trouble. As an aside, alcohol based anti freeze didn't come in until the 20s.

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themonsstar

There is also the Gun Fire (No12)  the magazine of the Northern branch of the WFA   A Proposed Attack on Ostend.

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