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fetubi

French Maps of WW1

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fetubi

Can anyone lead me to where I can find what appear to be French/Belgian Map references, found in a 1919 AIR1 document at TNA

Examples include:

St Quentin 1E.19.74.

St Quentin 1D.21.61.

Amiens 1D.45.48.

Valenciennes 5C.71.38.

I'm sure you get the drift...  Are these maps - i.e. maps where these references can be checked and located - available anywhere the Net?  It would be incredibly useful, for some research I'm doing.  Thank you.

 

Trevor

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Howard
Posted (edited)

This is the top of a French 1:50,000, Amiens SE. The grid is Lambert so a map reference would be in this form:- 136.7, 285.5, i.e. kilometre squares with fractions.

 

If Amiens 1D.45.48 is a map reference it would imply that 1D is the sheet number but I have not seen a French sheet numbering scheme in which 1D is listed.

 

Is there any other context to these references? Could they be target numbers?

 

The second map shows a reference system that does not match with either the main British or French systems, it is an area around Hamblain-les-Prés East of Arras but even here the squares are referred to by a two letter code, ID not 1D so a target would be ID35.

 

Howard

 

 

AmiensSE.jpg

Hamblain-les-Prés.jpg

 

Edited by Howard
Added second map

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fetubi

Thank you very much for this Howard - finally I feel like my understanding has taken a step in the right direction!   I've seen a Map - that the references might point to, despite the anomalies.  The Map Refs in that AIR1 doc, are a mixture of the conventional British References/Maps and then these, that I've quoted from.  They're exacly as I've transcribed.  

I will keep hunting, but first digest in a bit more detail what you've posted.  Many thanks again.

Trevor

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Howard

I would be interested to see a scan/copy of AIR1, I may be able to tie up details with other maps.

 

Howard

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LDT006
Posted (edited)

Howard,

 

you are right but the main problem is that you need to know which map to use, the concept worked fine if it was clear which map it was. A system of map references using letters was introduced to eliminate confusion when French map references were used by allies who were not familiar with the system.

Source: http://www.defencesurveyors.org.uk/Historical/WWI/Report on Western Front.htm page 161

I can only assume that the French continued their system and that these map references only appear on allied copies.

Attached is an extract of a map with these letters from the US archives.

 

This is my interpretation from the references in post 1, hope that they didn't use something special.

I have seen confusion before when the references point to an area rather than a specific point, this is my overview of it:

The last set of numbers reference to an area or a point in a 10 by 10 kilometer square map, the amount of digits define the precision.

The 0 0 origin of a square is bottom left.

3 9 defines a square of 1 x 1 Km

31 98 a square of 100 x 100 meters

312 987 a square of 10 x 10 meters

3125 9874 a square of 1 x 1 meters

 

Trevor,

are those references more to an area rather than a very specific point?

 

Luc.

 

949688281_Frenchmapwithletters.png.e7375faf326bf6f64b7cb01c6e154390.png

Edited by LDT006

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LDT006
Posted (edited)

Howard,

 

I have messed things up, and wasn't clear enough, there are several ways to reference to a point.

 

First is the one that you describe and a reference is then in kilometers with fractions, so a reference to a point with a 10 meter accuracy is written as 123,45 987,65

 

These are rather long and the one that I describe above was another simpler system using 10Km square maps, there are no fractions for a 1m accuracy but with a required reference to what map is used.

 

Another concept was used for smaller scales and this looks to be the system that Trevor is asking for and is also shown on the second map in your post 2.

I think that the reference is 1D, I can't find a single "1" in all of them on that map, there is a ID5I but all others are IDxx where xx are numbers, so it seems that it should be 1D51?

Those squares with a number and letter should be divided into tenths and hundreds resulting in the format 1D 21 61 that Trevor is asking for.

This last system is also described in the link above.

 

Problem now is to find those maps.

Edited by LDT006

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fetubi

Hi Luc,

 

Yes, these references are to specific points - down to a few square metres of ground...

 

Trevor

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Howard
Posted (edited)

The French reference system in the Report on Survey on the Western Front page 161 is in the format letter-number e.g. A3287, in the OP the format is number-letter, e.g. 1D. The Allied system as presented in the report in somewhat dense language but does not (I think!) comply with the reference system implied in the OP.

 

Late in the war the British planned to move away from the emergency grid system of an awkward yard based grid imposed on the metre based Belgian Bonne grid that had been extended over France. They were planning to use the far better French Lambert system. Some British maps were printed with both grids, some with only the Lambert grid. Sadly few survive.

 

The closest I can get to a 1D reference is on this index map of the planned Bonne-Lambert change in which the (red) Lambert squares do have number-letter format but do not include a square denoted by 1D and Valenciennes is in square 6J not 5C.

 

I have looked on several dozen French maps and they all have the standard Lambert system or just Lat/Long. I have also looked at the few British Air Packet maps I have, they have no grid at all. A very small number of British maps have a local grid like the one I posted above which I believe were for aerial artillery spotting. Sadly I do not have any French aviation maps.

 

Howard

 

 

 

Edited by Howard
Added Lat/Long

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MikeMeech
2 hours ago, Howard said:

The French reference system in the Report on Survey on the Western Front page 161 is in the format letter-number e.g. A3287, in the OP the format is number-letter, e.g. 1D. The Allied system as presented in the report in somewhat dense language but does not (I think!) comply with the reference system implied in the OP.

 

Late in the war the British planned to move away from the emergency grid system of an awkward yard based grid imposed on the metre based Belgian Bonne grid that had been extended over France. They were planning to use the far better French Lambert system. Some British maps were printed with both grids, some with only the Lambert grid. Sadly few survive.

 

The closest I can get to a 1D reference is on this index map of the planned Bonne-Lambert change in which the (red) Lambert squares do have number-letter format but do not include a square denoted by 1D and Valenciennes is in square 6J not 5C.

 

I have looked on several dozen French maps and they all have the standard Lambert system or just Lat/Long. I have also looked at the few British Air Packet maps I have, they have no grid at all. A very small number of British maps have a local grid like the one I posted above which I believe were for aerial artillery spotting. Sadly I do not have any French aviation maps.

 

Howard

 

Hi

The Abstract of the 1918 Allied Conference to standardise maps can be found in AIR 1/725/97/2.  Some of the content follows:

Mike

1008634629_pro260613073.jpg.d8edfde246f8cd203fa2cbd1501f33a2.jpg

744216072_pro260613074.jpg.1679514f3451c7f4a88ad014b9e7a72a.jpg

1429585996_pro260613075.jpg.2170b0ddd36c03336106adb1625ee9bd.jpg

 

 

2 hours ago, Howard said:

 

 

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MikeMeech

Hi

 

Another document from the same file that might be of interest is the following:

Mike

1550438138_pro260613070.jpg.63f1693a297dac2bd309e950066bce0e.jpg

 

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fetubi

Mike and Howard,

 

Thank you so much for taking all this trouble to help with identifications.  Plenty to get my head around.

 

I just had a thought...  "Trev, on the basis of all this help, now go and draw your own maps!!"

 

Trevor

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fetubi
Posted (edited)

Howard, that link to the overlay map is very interesting.  Another thought: some of these quoted Map References in my initial post do have approximate correlation to "known" British Map references (via CWGC Concentration Forms) - so I need to go back and explore that aspect a little.  I am researching positions of found airmen's graves, and different entries in this AIR1 document give a mixture of the British Map ref, or this other form of Reference.  The occasional one even rather annoyingly says something like "grave found just below the second O of Oostaverne..."!  I mention all this because this 1919 file - ie before CWGC  - is sometimes giving different references from a reference for an airman provided later on the CWGC Concentration Report...  sometimes it is only a few dozen or a hundred yards - but other times it is a few miles away. 

 

And here's the rub... there are a few airmen in that List, usually with one of these odd Map References - whom we and the CWGC now say are NKGs, with no known grave... Each one deserves our efforts to find them.

 

Trevor

Edited by fetubi

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LDT006
20 hours ago, fetubi said:

Hi Luc,

 

Yes, these references are to specific points - down to a few square metres of ground...

 

Trevor

 

Then there is only one possibilty that I see how the following references can be that specific:

St Quentin 1E.19.74.

St Quentin 1D.21.61.

Amiens 1D.45.48.

Valenciennes 5C.71.38.

 

The first is a name to a map using the largest city on it, 1E, 1D and 5C are a references to a square on that map and the last set of numbers are the X-Y coordinates. 2 digit coordinates would imply that the square can not larger than 1x1 Km and point to a 10x10 meter area maximum

 

The same reference system is mentioned in this topic, post 3, but the relevant trench map has not been found: 

 

The topic above proves that this map reference system was already in use during 1918, maybe only for specific area's.

 

Trevor: are there any references like this in the Ypres area?

 

Luc.

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fetubi

I think I've solved it...  roamed up into my loft to find a large folio I bought 30 years ago with ALL the Maps mentioned in this series, covering both Belgium and France - eg you see Valenciennes here, in the Belgium series.  These maps give a letter horizontally, and a number vertically - the locations look like they are going to tie up!  Hopefully it's solved.  This is a bit of a breakthrough.  Thank you to absolutely everyone who contributed their hard-won knowledge.

 

Trevor  

 

map.jpg

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Howard

Not sure I understand how the 1:100,000 series map references crack the problem. Anyway, I have these 10 maps with (I think) the map reference system outlined in the AIR document above, lettered squares every 10km etc.. It does not relate to the 1D etc. references.

 

Howard

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fetubi
Posted (edited)

Hi Howard,

More fascinating Maps - thank you.

I do think I have solved it, for my purposes, as if you take one of the airmen in my book - Capt HJ Welch, an 80 Sqn pilot killed on 29th September 1918, CWGC note he was buried and located after the War at Bellicourt British Cemetery, Sh.62b G.3.d.5.4. - just immediately to the west of the town.  Then if you look at his relevant entry from the AIR1 file - see attached - you see (with misspelt surname, which is not un-common in this file, but I can understand that, given the circumstances...) he is noted having been found at "St Quen. 1C.75.76."  If you look at the St Quentin Map from the 1:100,000 series I mentioned, you find the Reference 1C. 75.76. puts him at exactly the same spot - just west of Bellicourt.  See attached extract from the St Quentin Map, showing the Grid references. 

 

I might add that further detail details about Capt Welch found since publication of the Sky Their Battlefield II in 2014, reveal that he wasn't killed in the air, but later died of his wounds that day - he was seen to crash heavily just west of the Lines, with a serious wound to his leg.  An Australian Private made a desperate effort to get to him and try and help him, but then had to leave him, to save his own life.  Capt Welch was then recovered later, but dead.  A tragic story, but it perfectly describes why we honour all these men.  Rest in Peace.

 

Trevor

 

002.jpg

001.jpg

Edited by fetubi

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Howard

OK, I see that now. I had concentrated on exact points and so had not even thought of looking at 1:100,000 maps.

 

Howard

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fetubi

I didn't know what I was looking for at the start, either!  I'm hungry for every little bit of information, as regards these men, so it will help.  I expect the individuals who assembled the original information did have larger scale maps than 1:100,000 when doing their records - given the double digit parts of the references - but at least I can now see the area.  Other references in that AIR1 file are very accurate... "15 yards north of the crossroads between..." 

 

Trevor

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jaykayu
Posted (edited)
On 24/06/2019 at 09:03, fetubi said:

Hi Howard,

More fascinating Maps - thank you.

I do think I have solved it, for my purposes, as if you take one of the airmen in my book - Capt HJ Welch, an 80 Sqn pilot killed on 29th September 1918, CWGC note he was buried and located after the War at Bellicourt British Cemetery, Sh.62b G.3.d.5.4. - just immediately to the west of the town.  Then if you look at his relevant entry from the AIR1 file - see attached - you see (with misspelt surname, which is not un-common in this file, but I can understand that, given the circumstances...) he is noted having been found at "St Quen. 1C.75.76."  If you look at the St Quentin Map from the 1:100,000 series I mentioned, you find the Reference 1C. 75.76. puts him at exactly the same spot - just west of Bellicourt.  See attached extract from the St Quentin Map, showing the Grid references. 

 

I might add that further detail details about Capt Welch found since publication of the Sky Their Battlefield II in 2014, reveal that he wasn't killed in the air, but later died of his wounds that day - he was seen to crash heavily just west of the Lines, with a serious wound to his leg.  An Australian Private made a desperate effort to get to him and try and help him, but then had to leave him, to save his own life.  Capt Welch was then recovered later, but dead.  A tragic story, but it perfectly describes why we honour all these men.  Rest in Peace.

 

Trevor

 

002.jpg

001.jpg

 

Hi Trevor

 

I have had a similar puzzle to you in trying to find the location of 4 number coordinates used on CWGC concentration forms of 1919, perhaps you or another on GWF may be able to help with please?  These are described  as from 'French map Ham 1:20,000', see an example Concentration form below with coordinates in column four, 66-58.  I have other examples quoting a 'French map Nesle 1:20,000' too. Presumably these are the main towns on each map and why they are named as such as mentioned above. 

 

1151891575_2DHam4digitmapref(2).jpg.d6e982d1d7c9ac792fe54148b90bbca3.jpg

 

Do you /anyone agree I could be correct please?

 

If so, I have looked at your example on the 1:100,000 St Quentin map above, and got a similar copy from McMaster. Ham is in rectangle A 4 of this - see below.  Assuming the 'French map Ham 1:20,000' quoted in the form above is just of rectangle A 4 of the 1:100,000 St Quentin map, the coordinates 66-58 are at the blue cross just north of Golancourt (I have also assumed 66-58 are XY coordinates).

 

 

275027494_macrepo_4203LR2.jpg.845fd19f7a9c631a8c386ceb8e9287d6.jpg

 

Do you/anyone believe this approach of taking 1 rectangle of a 1:100,000 map and using it as a substitute for a 1:20,000 map is correct please? or have any suggestions what French 1:20,000 maps of Ham & Nesle I should be using instead please?

 

Any help much appreciated.

 

Thanks

 

Edited by jaykayu

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fetubi

J, I think the theory you outline is what I would infer from those references.  Truth is, I don't know with 100% certainty, but having now seen more of these references, they seem to fit in the way I outlined in my last post, and how you are expressing it.  Hopefully, someone can confirm.

 

Cheers,

 

Trevor

 

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jaykayu

Many thanks Trevor

 

It's been suggested I try the IWM for these 1:20,000 French maps of Ham & Nesle, which I will do as well as all other options.

 

regards

 

J

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Howard
18 hours ago, jaykayu said:

 

Hi Trevor

 

I have had a similar puzzle to you in trying to find the location of 4 number coordinates used on CWGC concentration forms of 1919, perhaps you or another on GWF may be able to help with please?  These are described  as from 'French map Ham 1:20,000', see an example Concentration form below with coordinates in column four, 66-58.  I have other examples quoting a 'French map Nesle 1:20,000' too. Presumably these are the main towns on each map and why they are named as such as mentioned above. 

 

1151891575_2DHam4digitmapref(2).jpg.d6e982d1d7c9ac792fe54148b90bbca3.jpg

 

Do you /anyone agree I could be correct please?

 

If so, I have looked at your example on the 1:100,000 St Quentin map above, and got a similar copy from McMaster. Ham is in rectangle A 4 of this - see below.  Assuming the 'French map Ham 1:20,000' quoted in the form above is just of rectangle A 4 of the 1:100,000 St Quentin map, the coordinates 66-58 are at the blue cross just north of Golancourt (I have also assumed 66-58 are XY coordinates).

 

 

275027494_macrepo_4203LR2.jpg.845fd19f7a9c631a8c386ceb8e9287d6.jpg

 

Do you/anyone believe this approach of taking 1 rectangle of a 1:100,000 map and using it as a substitute for a 1:20,000 map is correct please? or have any suggestions what French 1:20,00 maps of Ham & Nesle I should be using instead please?

 

Any help much appreciated.

 

Thanks

 

I think the numbers 40' and 45' are latitude minutes not grid co-ordinates. Sadly I do not have the French maps quoted and as I scanned the IWM collection, I do not think they have them either (or I missed them!). The French 1:20,000 just above Ham has regular Lambert co-ordinates, usually these are in the format xxx.xx, yyy,yy no tthe two digit ones on the form.

 

Howard

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jaykayu

Hi Howard

 

Many thanks for for the input. Can you say if the French 1:20,000 map just above Ham is available to view online anywhere?

 

Cheers, J

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Howard
4 hours ago, jaykayu said:

Hi Howard

 

Many thanks for for the input. Can you say if the French 1:20,000 map just above Ham is available to view online anywhere?

 

Cheers, J

It maybe but cannot suggest where. There seem to be very few French maps around, perhaps there are a lot in Paris but nothing I have seen on-line.

 

Howard

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healdav

The French army? produced a complete set of maps of the front in the early 1920s. They have trench lines marked in red.

I have no idea where they can be obtained, but I have a few that were copied for me by the Archive people at the Mémorial at Verdun.

They don't advertise this place, so you need to ask about it at the reception.

For the entire front, perhaps the French Army Museum can help?

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