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Skipman

Naming of parts (of the battlefield)

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Skipman

Have always wondered how a particular part of a battlefield came by an official name. Noticed this in the IX. Corps Diary October, 25th, 1915, Suvla. Has anyone come across any other examples?

 

Mike

temp Boot.PNG

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BIFFO

near railway wood,dead mans bottom?

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Skipman
2 hours ago, BIFFO said:

near railway wood,dead mans bottom?

 

:o

 

What a way to go down in history?

 

Mike

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Steven Broomfield

The question is a little ambiguous: are you asking how places were named as a general question (as in, was there a policy/process for the operation), or are you asking how that specific spot got its name?

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Skipman

I suppose it is. I meant had anyone seen any other examples of the process of naming a particular location. I was unsure if this was a spur of the moment decision by soldiers/officers that kind of takes hold. it seems this was a process ok'd at Corps level.

 

Mike

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Steven Broomfield

Presumably there must have been a process - otherwise how would names gain coinage? It is entirely possible that Dead Cow Farm might have been called Dead Cow Cottage or Smelly Cow Farm by other units, so there must have been some form of process to settle the matter.

 

Never seen it though.

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Skipman

Indeed. This is the first time I have seen any evidence of it.

 

Mike

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Steven Broomfield

I wonder if it was like the Good Old Days when meadiaeval kings would delegate their Heralds to chinwag with the opposing Heralds and decide on a name ... e.g. Agincourt.

 

Must be like naming motorway service areas.

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Skipman

Like  Ye old Battles Nomenclature Committee.

 

I get the feeling your not taking this too seriously. Might I gently point out an interesting error " meadiaeval "

 

Mike

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Ricard 51
1 hour ago, Steven Broomfield said:

Bonsoir monsieur Broomfield. Re motorway service areas. Just be thankful that the idea was not pursued. Imagine these famous actions....the hell they called South Mimms, the lancashire fusiliers in Clacket Lane, the battle of the river  Leigh Delamere, saving the guns at Charnock Richard and Sutton Scotney, the first tank battle.

 

Edited by Ricard 51
Spelling

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Steven Broomfield
14 hours ago, Skipman said:

Like  Ye old Battles Nomenclature Committee.

 

I get the feeling your not taking this too seriously. Might I gently point out an interesting error " meadiaeval "

 

Mike

 

Actually I am, and as no-one slese seems interested it seems decent of me to try. But if you're only interested in poor typing I won't bother.

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Skipman
23 minutes ago, Steven Broomfield said:

 

Actually I am, and as no-one slese seems interested it seems decent of me to try. But if you're only interested in poor typing I won't bother.

 

Sorry Steven, my sincerest apologies for picking that up wrong in that case. i must have been in skindles mode.

 

Mike

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Steven Broomfield

Don't worry. If you can't fall out with mates you never get to kiss and make up (in - obviously - a bromance sort of way)

 

I would love an answer to the question, though - how were these things decided? Some, it's going to make little difference, but, suppose, an attack is being launced on 'Dead Cow Farm', it's not much use if half the division calls it Dead Cow Farm and the rest call it 'Smelly Cow Farm', so there must be standardisation and this must be decided at a senior level, surely? How else do the people who produce Trench Maps know what to say?

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Acknown

There are some insights here: http://www.greatwar.co.uk/research/maps/british-army-ww1-trench-maps.htm, but not an answer. IAs you will know, the troops occupying ground for the first time would give the features and trenches familiar names for easy reference. Then the map makers would arrive and ask them for the names, record them and print them on maps. Maybe these names had to be officially sanctioned thereafter but I haven't come across any official sanction like your example. Perhaps an RE mapping expert can assist?

My interpretation of your example is that the Corps was concerned in some way with a feature that had not yet been given a name, so for a specific purpose (operation?), it accorded one itself as a one off. The name may have stuck thereafter or have simply been used on that occasion.

Acknown

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Skipman

Thanks Acknown, that's interesting. I wonder too if aerial photography played a part. There are names written in ink on this 1918 aerial photo. Perhaps named at this stage sometimes and transferred to maps?

 

Click

 

Mike

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Fattyowls
1 hour ago, Skipman said:

I wonder too if aerial photography played a part.

 

It's crossed my mind a few times recently; I was looking at a photo of the Caterpillar on the other side of the railway from Hill 60 at Ypres and thinking that it could only be described as such from the air. I was also musing on the origin of my favourite funny farm - Streaky Bacon near Bois Grenier and wondering how on earth it got the name. An interesting thread Mike.

 

Pete.

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Skipman

Just happened on this while transcribing the 45th Infantry Brigade Diary  for August, 1916. In operation order No. 116, plans are issued for an attempt to surround German units in the Intermediate Line. A new line is to be dug and Brigade Headquarters state

 

"The new line will be called Swansea Trench."

 

 

Mike

temp Swansea Trench.PNG

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paul.pengelly

Found this while searching Canadian 2nd Division General Staff,war diaries,quite a long list wonder if these were inherited from previous divisions as 2nd had only been there a month.

 

Sorry about the poor picture ,will try again if anyboddies interested.

A5B909BB-2002-4A98-B3CB-3F5AEFC474A4.jpeg

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Skipman

Thank you Paul. Interesting. What does it say exactly at the top, do you know?

 

Special names given to ???? German ???????

 

Mike

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paul.pengelly

Didnt realise it was  so bad ,the letters seem to bend ...

 

"Special names given to various German works opposite 2nd Canadian Division front"

 

Presumably this is handed over to the next Division who takes over the line so everybody is singing from the same hymn sheet as it were.As I said 2nd Canadian had only been there for a month or so but looks like they had added at least three names to the list 

 

Muskrat Hound,Beaver Dam,and Skunks hole sound very North American especially compared to Piccadilly park !

 

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Neill Gilhooley

There is a good description of renaming in Military Operations, paraphrased as...

Mouse Trap Farm was rechristened many times: simply marked as chateau, then chateau du nord, or to the Germans as Wieltje Chateau and the British officially as ‘farm in C.22.b’, it was unofficially called Shell Trap Farm or confusingly Canadian Farm. The ominous-sounding Shell Trap was changed by V Corps orders to Mouse Trap Farm.

Mousetrap.jpg.443e1821e4eea1b8cd6f3ed465492cf9.jpg 

https://maps.nls.uk/view/101464903

Edited by Neill Gilhooley
Add map image

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robertb

"Rat's Alley" by Peter Chasseaud offers some fascinating insights into the naming of trenches on the Western Front.

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