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Skipman

Help required French Map Ref coordinates

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Skipman

Can anyone help with google earth coordinates for these French style Map reference coordinates. Pte 22071 James Campbell, 1/5th K.O.S.B. was killed in action on the 1st of August, 1918, during the Second Battle of the Marne, 1918. The approximate Map reference where his body was found was Oulchy-le-Château 185.6 X 279.2 He is buried in Raperie British Cemetery.

 

Cheers Mike

temp James Campbell coordinates.PNG

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dgibson150

Mike

Judging by the avalanche of replies so far, this is not an easy question.

 

I can only say that I have studied the 9th Battalion Tank Corps  battle of Sauvillers in which the French map references were in the format WXYZ and the base point (0000)

was, as far as I can see, local and in no way universal, as was the English map referencing. WX represented the "X" axis (east-west) in tenths of kilometres and "YZ" the "Y" axis (north-south) in tenths of kilometres. I can't see though how this fits with your number format. Maybe you should try and see if there are any maps in the war diaries of French units operating in or near Oulchy-le-Château in August 1918.You may be able to crack the code from this.

 

David

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Skipman

Hi David, many thanks for reply. Agree not an easy one. I will check the 103rd Brigade, 34th Division diaries  first. I am interested in the location as from it, might be able to tell when in the advance he was killed.

 

Thanks again.

 

Mike

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Skipman

Don't see any maps in the brigade diary but there is a situation 29th July map in the divisional diary that's helpful Click

 

Mike

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Skipman

Just noticed there's a situation 1st August map which is very useful Click

 

Mike

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Skipman

Attached a very approximate google earth view of the 1/5th KOSB positions on 1/8/1918

 

Mike

temp James Campbell map.PNG

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Howard

If you fit these maps to Google Earth it will give you the old Lambert grid. Then if you have more Lambert references you can read the lat/long directly. Sadly I do not have the 1:20,000 map to the East of this but once you have the grid in GE it should be easy.

 

Modern Lambert to lat/long (WGS84) converters do not give accurate results, the grid used in the Great War does not match modern Lambert grids and the conversion parameters required have been lost or are so hard to find that they may as well be. Despite being 100 years ahead of the Ordnance Survey, during the Great War period the French had lost their way with cartography and the whole organisation, record keeping and publication of maps was a mess, that is why the Royal Engineers had to re-survey the whole front as an emergency. Some good French maps do exist but the coverage is very patchy.

 

Howard

Beugneux2.jpg

Beugneux.jpg

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Howard

Fitting maps to GE is not always easy especially when like this one, there is a big crease in it. This may help.

 

Howard

Beugneux3.jpg

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Skipman

Many thanks Howard. I will study this later. It may be that I might not be able to locate the exact point. He was a great uncle of a friend and am looking into it for her, as well as being another piece of my local jig-saw.

 

Mike

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Howard

I have just found a another version of the same map but with a crease in a different place. It may geo-reference a bit better.

 

Howard

Beugneux4.jpg

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Howard

Here is part of a 1:50,000 map so less detailed but may get you closer to a good geo-reference.

 

Howard

 

Beugneux5.jpg

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Skipman

Howard, that is excellent and thank you very much. I will have to study further but, to me, that puts the location where he his body was found, about 800 yards south-west of Beugneux. Possibly killed earlier than zero hour?

 

Thanks again

 

Mike

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Martin Feledziak

That map fits nicely onto google Earth.

 

overlay.jpg.a476f7768a388e863f1eb76790fff1d8.jpg

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Skipman

Thank you very much Martin. I don't know how to do that. I had it a bit further south than that. (You are probably more accurate than me), are you confident that is " 185.6 X 279.2 " ?

 

Mike

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Skipman

That is pretty much on the starting line of the advance on 1/8/1918, I reckon?

 

Mike

temp James Campbell map 2.PNG

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Martin Feledziak

 If Howard's co-ordinates are correct.

I would go with the purple star.

 

 

1402726719_map2.jpg.22494f2820861848ba31da5619f92a8b.jpg

 

185.6 279.2.kmz

 

 

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Skipman

Thank you all very much indeed. I have attached a photograph of James Campbell. He lived in the very village in which I grew up. Acharn, on the south side of Loch Tay. One of the most beautiful places on earth. It will soon be 100 years since he fell and now, with your help, we are much closer to knowing where and when.

 

Mike

P James Campbell 1 photo Acharn.PNG

Edited by Skipman

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Howard

There are lots of sources of error in mapping and geo-referencing old maps to new so this cannot be seen as “accurate” but it can get you close, usually close enough to make the remembrance more meaningful which I think is why people do it. Some seem to think that if you get a lat/long in a GPS and stand where it says that is ensures that is “the” place, but consider that the original map has positional errors, so would the plotting of a place at the time (where a body was found etc.), scanning problems converting old maps to new e.g. creased or distorted maps and geo-referencing or map fitting errors to name but a few sources of trouble. It would be lovely to think that one could stand at point X and be sure it is right +/- say a metre or so but that is fanciful, even if one had a survey grade GPS, the best one can hope for with all the errors taken into account is +/- a mills bomb lob, (however far that is!)

 

An excellent way to get round some errors is to draw lines through two fixed points like road junctions, churches etc. In-shore sailors call these lines a transit.  Quite often a place can be fixed like that to an accuracy better than you might imagine. When maps were drawn, especially during the Great War, surveyors would fix such points and fill in the wiggly bits by eye, so now when on the ground, stand on a transit and put some markers on the ground, e.g. a bag or two. If you can then manage two intersecting transits, it is surprisingly accurate. Trees often get in the way. Get a mate to stand at a road junction and line him up with a distant church, that works until traffic makes him move!

 

Howard

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Skipman

Thanks again Howard. Interesting insight. I think accurate enough and with a bit more study on my part will me enough information to be reasonably confident where and when he fell.

 

Mike

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Martin Feledziak

I am amazed how many old maps appear to fit onto current satellite imagery.

so far, every map or even diagram I have tried this technique on all appear to fit.

 

This map does just that and slides on with many matching features.

 

However

 

I agree that co-ordinates are a whole different thing.

 

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Skipman

Thanks again Martin

 

Forgive me Howard, I hadn't noticed that you had marked the spot in the second image in post #7 with two purple lines. Does anyone know what that feature is, perhaps an old quarry? See Kmz File attached

 

Mike

KMZ Beugneux.kmz

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Howard
11 hours ago, Skipman said:

Thanks again Martin

 

Forgive me Howard, I hadn't noticed that you had marked the spot in the second image in post #7 with two purple lines. Does anyone know what that feature is, perhaps an old quarry? See Kmz File attached

 

Mike

KMZ Beugneux.kmz

If you look on the list of conventional signs, it looks a bit like brushwood. GE shows it as a hill so if it were a quarry there would be a bit missing from the hill. Being a hill it would also be militarily important and better defended than other bits.

 

The position I marked was measured in graphics software and on that scale each pixel is roughly 2 metres, (590 pixels per 1000 metres) so taking into account the creases etc., it should be close(ish).

 

Howard

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Martin Feledziak

Interestingly Geoportal lets you zoom in with clearer detail.

https://www.geoportail.gouv.fr/carte

 

1026810785_geoportal.jpg.efb52228027c39e3e5598014155e15b6.jpg

 

 

 

I am sure you have looked at this , looking north from the v in the road, is as close as you can get from Google Street View.

 

 

136327557_streetview.jpg.c9f7ffc6a6f38fdedd0a2edc17a3108e.jpg

 

 

Edited by Martin Feledziak

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Skipman

Thanks again. Yes have looked at it. Martin, your photograph shows the height of the feature more clearly than I had noticed. Definitely a hill and I suppose trees might not grow so well in a quarry. Odd shaped feature though.

 

The Thirty-Fourth Division History has some more detail on the 1st of August, 1918. p 262

 

Mike

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Martin Feledziak

As it happens i am currently studying Longpont and Corcy as of June and July 1918. So just to the west of your plot.

The German 115th Division were at battle with the French 87th and 1st.

 

overview.jpg.bd405d2e6acd804e1718677b44a120af.jpg

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