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paul.pengelly

GlosterTrench ,Trench 121 ?

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paul.pengelly

Before 3rd Bde the  first Canadian Tunnelling Company was formed in January 1916.,the Canadian Brigade mining sections worked under supervision of various R.E Tunnelling companies gaining experience/training in this "new" warfare.

 

From the war diary of 171st Tunnelling company.

6/9/1915 -"Shaft started in trench 121 by Canadian mining section under Lt Evans....."  with Bugginsville written in the margin.

I have a map reference of 28SW4 U21b for trench 121, east of Plugstreet wood facing the German  position known as The Birdcage .

 

 

 

In "Gentlemen and Officers;The impact and experience of war on a territorial regiment 1914-1915" by  -K.W Mitchinson.he mentions

 

"A shaft was dug from the corner of Somerset Trench -Bugginsville Shaft towards the German strong point known as The Birdcage."

 

McMaster's Trench map site has a Bugginsville Trench with the same map reference as trench 121

so are all these names talking about  roughly the same trench?

 

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paul.pengelly

 Confusing myself now it had so many "names" !

 

It now seems likely that trenches were nicknamed for  whoever was stationed there at the time ,then  when they left it dropped out of use,and people forgot about its previous name ,and named it after the new "owners"

 I have seen references to it being called both Somerset trench and Gloster trench ,the "Somersets" were there end of 1914,and "Glosters" april / may 1915 

And there is a definite corner on Somerset trench (trench 121) as it mirrors the German "duckbill" protuberance of the birdcage stronghold.

This corner is where the "Bugginsville" shaft headed off to the three mines either side of the road at Le Pellerin, while the tunnel heading for the White Estaminet started slightly futher north,possibly still trench 121? with a spur to link them both.

 

 

According to the 171st Tunnelling company war diaries the 1st Bde and 2nd Bde Canadian mining companies they were instructing/supervising left after 15 days .....but to where?,anybody know ?

Only another 18 possible R.E Tunnelling companies that they could have been attached to.!

 

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WhiteStarLine

Hi Paul,

 

Agree that these seem to have been closely related.  

 

   Trench 121 NW of Elger House   Ploegsteert   28 SW4 U.21.b

   Somerset House Ploegsteert Wood 28 SW4 U.21.a.09.23.or.2.4

   Gloster House Ploegsteert Wood   28SW4 U.20.c.5.9

   Bugginsville E side of Ploegsteert Wood[1915]   28SW4 U.21.b

   The German Birdcage, Le Pelerin Ploegsteert   [1914-1915]   28SW4 U.21.b, U.22.a

 

Don't forget that these names were formally recorded by surveyors and printed on maps, so there was some rigour to the process.

 

 A series of trench maps naming each of the 5 entries above is the best way of resolving / confirming your confusion!

 

Good luck, Bill

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paul.pengelly

Hi Bill

 

Been through all the trench maps 28 SW on McMasters (again) ,Somerset House and Gloster House I can find , both on "The Strand" behind our trenches.

 

Can find no mention of trenches named Somerset or Gloster in that area (there was a Gloster Trench in Oppy area ,Map 51b) so it looks to have been a "short term trench nickname" that didn't become official.? 

 

Not sure about "Bugginsville " was the tunnel named after the trench or vice versa?

 

 

Also from the 171st Tunnelling Company war diary another named tunnel; 21st August "; suspicious noises have been heard at "Wee Maggie" Lille Rd.!

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Howard

In Peter Barton's book, Beneath Flanders Fields, Trench 121 in mentioned, Ploegsteert has 10 entries in the index. I have not re-read this to check the above detail but it may be worth getting hold of a copy, at the very least it has a wealth of background information about tunnelling in the area.

 

Something I noticed comparing the maps in Peter Barton's book and all the trench maps I have seen is that practically nothing at all is shown about tunnelling on trench maps, not even the secret ones. I think he uses his links with the Royal Engineers library at Chatham as the best source.

 

Howard

 

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paul.pengelly

 Howard 

  Sounds interesting ,and  another book to add to my "wish list"

 

...Unfortunately as my relative was injured before the official formation of the 3rd Bde Canadian Tunnelling Company in Jan 1916 and was in  one of the six Brigade Mining Sections that were attached to R.E Tunnelling companies for instruction .This instruction/training lasted for only a matter of months,? and details of this seem to be very sketchy and hard to find with very little mention of any Canadian involvement.

Unfortunately  these mining sections did not have war diaries,and there are very few mentions in the Canadian Engineers diaries of any mining,so it looks like I will have to try and find R.E Tunnelling Company diaries that they were attached to.

 

I know what you mean about the tunnelling maps,thankfully this forum has helped the most ;the thread  titled  "Date (and time) of the 1955 mine explosion at Ploegstreert" has two maps posted by towisuk that show the birdcage tunnels in detail which have proved invaluable ,so thank you towisuk.

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