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paul.pengelly

War Diary - Didn’t expect that !

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paul.pengelly

When you spend time looking through War Diaries you often come across something strange that makes you forget what you were looking for ,and often starts you off looking in a totally different direction.....well I do .

 

Searching through the Canadian Divisional diaries came across this which stood out ,a photograph...of the Divisional H.Q  and on the reverse ,instructions,and also a nice hand drawn map of the H.Q.

 

I know they were only there for a couple of days and then they moved,but was this not frowned upon divulging such detailed information in a war diary? 

 

 

04845BAE-63CA-41ED-AEE1-2A8E583903FB.jpeg

5EBD75BC-9A8A-49EE-975E-2FD9093C7377.jpeg

ED66933E-7EBF-49AD-8AC8-B80E0E89CCB9.jpeg

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paul.pengelly

18th Canadian Battalion War Diary

 

Oct 3rd 1915 ;

“54160 Pte H.R.Aikenhead......was hit in the head with a bully beef tin which someone was using to test a trench catapult.”......

 

Aikenhead he most certainly was, as on his service records it shows .

admitted to field hospital on 3/10/1915 he spent the night and was discharged the next day,listed as Wounded in head (accidental).

 

 

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MaxD

Added later perhaps?  The instructions (cut on the dotted line etc) may relate to how to get it into the existing record.  There is also evidence of a copied page dated 1925 next in the diary.  Those pages are not cross referenced in the narrative - although that may mean nothing!

 

Pure speculation!

 

Max

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paul.pengelly

 Yes surely you are right ,it’s got to be a later addition when the diaries were being put together with the appendices and the signals.

 

I don’t suppose there were that many 1 hour film developing booths to drop your films off at either so that you had to wait till you were on leave to get your prints ?  

  And really you shouldn’t  be snapping away with a camera in a war zone, especially taking pictures of your H.Q .You wouldn’t be very popular if you got captured ,I’m sure the enemy would be delighted to develop them for you free of charge.

 

It makes a nice change to have this much information in the War diaries,saw one the other day and it was just the date and the weather and “situation normal” everyday for weeks at a time.

In fact they got an official “reminder” from H.Q as they even forgot to state their location..not a lot of good to anybody.

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paul.pengelly

 How about this work of art a hand drawn 3D panorama of the line from Givenchy looking Eastwards June 8th 1915

From Canadian 1st Division,General Staff War Diary and appendices 

C8DC4C9D-A3A4-4917-823A-C465A0F6FB08.jpeg

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Pat Atkins

Blimey, that's a great illustration, Paul - and if it had just been of the next sector (from position I.15 leftwards), it would have perfectly covered the area of the 2nd London Div attack on 25th May 1915, and perhaps greatly clarified the events surrounding a relative's death. Hey-ho. Good thread, thanks for posting.

 

Pat

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Howard
28 minutes ago, Pat Atkins said:

Blimey, that's a great illustration, Paul - and if it had just been of the next sector (from position I.15 leftwards), it would have perfectly covered the area of the 2nd London Div attack on 25th May 1915, and perhaps greatly clarified the events surrounding a relative's death. Hey-ho. Good thread, thanks for posting.

 

Pat

This may just be useful.

 

Howard

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Martin Feledziak
1 hour ago, Howard said:

This may just be useful.

 

 

Wow that is such a great Panorama.

 

This is the area where Captain Kilby picked up his VC when the 2nd Battalion South Staffords advanced along the canal to attack the Railway redoubt on the opening day of the battle of Loos. The anniversary is coming up  again 25th Sept 1915,

Sadly they did not achieve their objective and Kilby and 14 others died on that canal path.

 

The canal runs left of and parallel to the railway line. I have just snipped a little slice off the panorama to highlight the terrain they faced.

The tortoise.JPG

Edited by Martin Feledziak

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paul.pengelly

Glad you liked it,if I’ve read the signature right it was drawn (possibly) by C.H.Mitchell who was an accomplished civil engineer before and after the war.

He was with the 1st Canadian contingent General staff,Lieutenant Colonel Charles Hamilton Mitchell,ending up as Brigader General,he authored a booklet on Aerial Navigation in Warfare.

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Pat Atkins
10 hours ago, Howard said:

 

Thanks, Howard - have come across a panorama of the Givenchy area, but not as clear or user-friendly as this one; very helpful.

 

Cheers, Pat

 

Paul: if only all WDs were full of Mitchell's sketches!

Edited by Pat Atkins

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paul.pengelly

Great photos Howard and Martin.

 

After a bit more delving,turns out that the artist?  Lieutenant -Colonel C.H.Mitchell was the Senior Corps Intelligence Officer,so it wasn’t just a quick sketch for fun .

Was there a clock tower still standing (June 1915) he could have climbed up to get the elevation,could he have used an observation balloon? .

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Martin Feledziak
2 hours ago, paul.pengelly said:

Was there a clock tower still standing (June 1915)

 

The below square 9 is from map 36C correct to June 1916 so the year after the drawing was made.

From the inset in his drawing he appears to have put himself in the middle of square 9.

So not much there.

 

There is a church marked C.7.5 but that does not tally with his inset.

 

Very interesting though.

 

782017288_square9only.JPG.62ad0f23eff0632436977aecfdcb4070.JPG

 

1790932740_inset9.JPG.7cc354b226c45692b7336822a22be1fc.JPG

 

the below is square 9 from a 1915 map. 

http://digitalarchive.mcmaster.ca/islandora/object/macrepo%3A67524

 

1280817843_1915square9.JPG.2568e966e3fb00752104d238c3e22c43.JPG

 

so the church could be the possible elevated viewing platform.

Edited by Martin Feledziak

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Howard

Note the different grid line positions, in 1915 they moved (revised) the grid so "early" map references do not work on later maps. Also note that the early maps were re-drawn from truly nasty French 1:80,000 series maps which were themselves inaccurate so a re-scale to 1:10,000 added to the errors. Later maps are quite good, early ones should be thought of as diagrams.

 

Howard

 

 

grid.jpg

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paul.pengelly

Thanks for all the maps,didn’t realise they were  “revised” as much ,bet that was a headache.

 

Looking at the maps and ignoring the grids it does look that he used the church tower ,if it was still there then.

Or judging by the booklet he authored on “Aerial navigation in Warfare “ flying was something that interested him ,he perhaps had help from the Air Force with photographs .

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Martin Feledziak
5 hours ago, Howard said:

(revised) the grid so "early" map references do not work on later maps

 

Thanks Howard,

 

That explains quite a lot of issues and makes me feel more confident with these maps. I always thought it was down to me but clearly the map makers were developing things all of the time.

 

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Howard
14 minutes ago, Martin Feledziak said:

 

Thanks Howard,

 

That explains quite a lot of issues and makes me feel more confident with these maps. I always thought it was down to me but clearly the map makers were developing things all of the time.

 

In 1914/15 the situation was an emergency. The survey data available was almost useless so the Belgian number only grid system was extended across France, hence the map sheets with letters, 36C etc. The Belgian maps were metric sheet sizes but a mistaken belief by the British that the artillery could only use yard based ballistic tables led them to impose a yard based grid on the metric sheets. It does not fit very well! Early attempts had squares A to JJ but very few of those maps have survived. After that they had the more familiar squares A to X but it was shifted by 150 yards or so. Later maps with the grid that stayed until 1918 were initially marked “Revised system of squaring” although this heading was dropped after a while. Most maps that survived have this squaring but care is required for early (1915) maps. The secret edition sheet I have for Loos in Sept. 1915 still has the older shifted grid on top of an inaccurate base map, it makes a nonsense of map references if you are unsure what map the report writer was looking at.

 

Howard

 

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paul.pengelly

Now this one is not quite as artistic as C.H.Mitchells panorama ,but instructive all the same5356D96F-E670-439A-8F6E-F5AC6CA9C2ED.jpeg.61838cb34650889857a23491e3673d14.jpeg

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paul.pengelly

Doh!  Having re-read that  report now realise that the drawing was about the previous days intelligence...which I don’t have ,and cannot find !

 

 

 

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paul.pengelly

I was intrigued by the accident suffered by the aptly named Pte Aikenhead in my second post ..which led me to search on here ,"Catapult" brings up over 200 hits !",Bully Beef "a lot less.

 

Among them was something that member PRC had found in the war diaries of 14th Btn Canadian Infantry.-5/7/1915 -Plug st area

 

".....The presence of a great catapult similar to those used in Caesars legions , bombs were fired at intervals from this dangerous contraption,also a few tins of Bully Beef.Probably the enemy regarded the beef as some particularly obnoxious Canadian poison"

 

A bit strong perhaps but the Canadians seemed to like catapults a lot  more than they did Bully Beef.

 

 

 

 

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paul.pengelly

  

Typically while looking for something totally different I found these nice hand drawn maps in the war diaries of 13th Btn (Royal Highlanders),exact same area and the same time June 1915 as shown in the panorama.....Didn’t expect that !

 

 

 

 

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319ED2F0-F4F6-4666-83C2-8A6B0B1DB185.jpeg

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paul.pengelly

A -Z  Mons9183BC21-79FF-4257-8D6C-C9BA7BAC5EA6.jpeg.53df4b809d1fb26b0b171ac07e55a711.jpeg

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paul.pengelly

And from Canadian Chaplain Services ,war diary 1917/18

“....Major E.B.Hopper’s social work at the Granville Special Hospital,Ramsgate,is deserving of special mention.Three times a week he secures a Char-a-bang and takes patients for trips through the country.On one occasion the 22 soldiers who accompanied him had only 20 legs.”

 

 

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Ron Clifton

We should perhaps remember that "field sketching" was an important part of a young officer's training, and there was also an official Manual of Map Reading and Field Sketching.

 

Ron

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Howard
26 minutes ago, Ron Clifton said:

We should perhaps remember that "field sketching" was an important part of a young officer's training, and there was also an official Manual of Map Reading and Field Sketching.

 

Ron

You can get either original or reproduction copies or archive.org has a PDF.

 

It makes interesting reading and I have found it useful to try some of their techniques. Harder than it looks!

 

Howard

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paul.pengelly

Thanks Ron and Howard ,I didn’t know that but it makes perfect sense ,that these sketches were an  accurate representation of what they had seen.The fact that he was Senior Corps Intelligence Officer presumably means he did more sketches to hone his skills,and they needed to be understandable.

 

Had another look at the war diaries it came from but can find no mention of it ,although looks like they had an attack planned that was cancelled so maybe it had something to do with that.

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