Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Location of APEX trench near Bullecourt in December 1917


Recommended Posts


I have been able to find Horseshoe Redoubt, Pudsey Trench, and London Support trenches on the following map, but am at a loss to locate Apex trench. The former trenches are in Quadrant U29 of Map 51B SW4 (Arras-Cantin), situated north of Noreuil, west of Bullecourt.

Can anyone assist, please?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

War Diary extract. 12th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment



11 Dec Mory 3pm Battalions relieved 7th KSLI in left sub section Noreuil, relief completed by 1120pm. Left Coy C & 2 platoons B Coy, centre (APEX) A coy, Right D Coy & 2 platoons B Coy in Horseshoe Redoubt. 2 Lt C Morris & 2 Lt C S Turner to VI Corps Infantry School for Course.

12 Dec trenches 635am An intense hostile bombardment commenced at dawn, the APEX being heavily trench mortared. The enemy attacked in considerable force and was beaten off. Twenty minutes later he again attacked and succeeded in gaining a footing in the APEX and London & Pudsey support trenches. A & D Coys suffered heavily, losing 70% of their effectives. Bombing fights and hand-to-hand fighting in progress all day & night.

13 Dec trenches Fighting all day. Enemy commenced a well organised Bombing attack at 3.43pm - 2 minutes before the "zero" of our bombing attack. Stubborn resistance offered by remnants of D Coy 13/14 Dec Trenches Midnight C Coy and remnants of A, B & D Coys replaced in line by 4th Royal Fusiliers. Coys withdrawn to Brigade Support in Railway Reserve.
Total casualties for period 12/14 dec
Lieut J Voss - Killed 2 Lt S H North, 2 Lt B C Nichols & 2 Lt W Barnet - wounded Capt R H J Smith, 2 Lt R Leach, 2 Lt C A Monks, 2 Lt J H English, Lt E K G Peronet & Lt W O Newall -
missing Lt A J Davis - wounded - missing
Total 177 OR casualties, of which 15 killed 56 wounded (3 since died of wounds) 106 missing


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rats Alley lists "The Apex" as 51bSW4, Bullecourt, area U4, 6, 10, 17 REF.


I do not know what REF means but it looks like it is not a trench. I have looked at various mainly secret maps but not found it marked.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

From the 4 RF (9 Bde/3 Div) WD for Dec 16:

11 Dec 16: Battn relieved 8th East Yorks Regt in right sub-section of NOREUIL sector - 'Z' Coy in front line - 'Y', 'W' and 'X' from right to left in support.
12 Dec 16: About 6 a.m. SOS was sent up from APEX, a position held by the second battalion on our left - namely 12th West Yorks. 13th Kings held the centre section of 9th Brigade front.

I believe that the trenches were opposite PRONVILLE.

I propose that the APEX was a position or locality that was used as a reference point, but not a trench.


Oh - Edward1 has beaten me to it!


Edited by Acknown
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Gents.

The only thing that confuses me is that whilst I can imagine a position running through quadrants 17, 10 & 4, it does seem odd that 6 is covered yet 5 is not.

Thanks also for the sources, too.

One other source could be to see if the map coordinates are captured in the War Diary for the 7th KSLI.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...

Just to add - 185 Brigade reports a raid on their positions on 13 September 1917 - WO95/3069/3. It describes a two pronged raid  on "The northern and eastern faces of the Apex"  held by 2/6th West Yorks. They include a sketch of the trenches attacked which are in U 29 b. Hope this helps, happy to copy map if required.



This area is the right hand extreme of London trench and the map is annotated " Dispositions of left subsections of right (Noreuil) Sector"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The left sub-sector equates to U.29.d-U.23.c. The right hand part manned by 2/6th WY Sept 1917 was U.29.d-b.


The raid of 13/9/17 was preceded by a barrage on the APEX and Pudsey Support. The raid comprised of 2 officers, 40 stormtroops, 60 infantry, 30 pioneers and 3 stretcher bearers. They were beaten back, killed or taken prisoner by 2/6th WY. Their objective were the dugouts in the APEX area.


This makes it sound like the APEX as described is a smaller zone than something that covers 4 map squares.


Secondly, if the enemy shelled the APEX and Pudsey prior to their raid on the U.29.b/d front and their objectives were the dugouts near the APEX surely the APEX described here must be in U.29?



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...