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jay dubaya

1916 aerial views Beaumont-Hamel unknown objects

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jay dubaya

Around 250 yards west from the tip of Y Ravine, middle of No Man's Land and perhaps just north of where Hawthorn Ridge No.2 now stands, 57d.Q.10.d.4.7 (ish) first image dated 10th October 1916 and the second image dated 3rd November 1916. Intrigue and the has the better of me and I can't think of what the row of objects could be. I'm sure some knowledgeable folk have seen these images before and can shed some light for me please.

 

J

(images courtesy of IWM)

 

667735897_YRavineQ10-11BOX227-7754-25I-29M-191810-10-1916.jpg.b1d12a0aae55d4b61e83b2c14cccaf56.jpg

1995863054_BeaumontHamel57dQ10YRavine03-11-1916212-635-15AE-57D-1916.jpg.e2b7bd4d98a0e2a8e317994bfcf4a611.jpg

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Open Bolt

Good question. They look like other heavy shell craters but in a remarkable pattern.

Beaumont.jpg.683f22de1bb7c8634135f1886f12e112.jpg

Some maps show a track from the more southerly point of Y, there may have been a track from this end too. At some point there was a sap out that way.

Beaumont2.jpg.9f0977a19bf03997e1900a558f08de3e.jpg

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Fattyowls

Purely speculation but could this be a line of shell holes created to form the basis of the end of the sap? It's remarkable shooting if it is. Great find either way.

 

Pete.

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jay dubaya

Thanks fellas, shell holes was the obvious answer and my only conclusion, I had forgotten the saps that had been driven into No Man's Land, did the Germans know there was a tunnel in the vicinity and took to precision shelling?... they're just not random enough for the battlefield and curiosity really took over after I found a neighbouring and similar dated image, so after a little research........

I believe they are subterranean TMB empacements opened up from an 8 meter deep some 110 meter long Russian Sap known as 'B' or 'No.6' Sap on the morning of 1st July 1916 for 8 guns of the 88th TMB, there is a slight depression in the linchet here and so provided some 'dead ground' albeit the effects of the fire was totally unobserved by the gun crews. The crews retired at the end of the day but spent time over the next 2 days recovering their ammunition. The 51st Division reused and extended the arms of the tunnel of what is now know as 1st Avenue narrowing No Man's Land for their part in the November battle. A section of this tunnel system collapsed around 20 years ago and was documented by the Durand Group. 

The 86th TMB had four guns in a similar set up to the right at the end of 'C' or 'Mary Tunnel'.... can you spot them on the image below? It was different for the 87th TMB who were placed in shell holes just beyond the Sunken Lane which was accessed via 'A' or No.7 Sap.

I have several image overlays of the situation should anyone be interested, my initial research was regarding the original front line cemeteries, and perhaps the shell hole that became Hunter's Cemetery can be seen on the images above too.

 

J

 

 

Beaumont-Hamel south of Y Ravine BOX 227-7754-25I-29M-1918 21-07-1916 corrected.jpg

Edited by jay dubaya

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peterhogg

Very interesting.  I would love to see any overlays you've produced identifying the gun emplacements and later cemeteries. 

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Open Bolt

Good work. I can see 'Mary Redan'/Short Strand marked as the obvious sap, but I can't say I can see the holes!

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TEW

Jay, I'm currently looking at a map in WO95/2301/1 in the appendices for June 1916. The map shows the tunneled saps you mention which were for forward TMBs to operate from on 1/7/16. The map is even marked as 88/1 & 88/2. The No. 6 sap runs out to the east but has a transverse? short line marked running N-S short of the sap end.

In short, on plan it looks like a cruciform or ship's mast. The short length is bang on your map ref. Is this not where the tunnel roof was collapsed early in the morning 1/7/16 to create the TMB emplacement. As opposed to extremely accurate shellfire to destroy the emplacement?

TEW

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jay dubaya

Apologies, I posted the wrong image.... I have now edited the above image to show it correctly orientated. 

The 87th TMB only fielded 1 section of 4 guns through Mary Tunnel unlike the 2 sections as noted from the map contained in WO95/2301/1, the other section was sent over the top with 2 guns attached to KOSB and 2 guns attached to the Borders

Back to the original images I posted, I have since found yet another image albeit the IWM have this listed as Q.17 it is actually Q.10.d and the upper portion of Q.16.b, the image clearly shows the same 8 gun pits and the tramway along Clanmel Avenue and St John's Road running parallel.

It is indeed where the roof was blown on the morning of the 1st Tew and not accurate shelling, the following image shows the spoil from where 1st Avenue plunged deeper into the chalk and the gun pits 110 meters beyond facing the western tip of Y Ravine, the 8 guns of 88th TMB fired 1200 rounds between 7.20am and 9am. 

Google street view offers a view from the northern tip of Hawthorn Ridge No.2 of the dead ground where 1st Avenue and the gun pits surfaced, one wonders if there is still a neat row of 8 depressions here amongst the numerous shell holes.

Thanks for the continued interest folks, I will post some overlays shortly once I've finished playing with them.

 

J

 

935879456_BeaumontHamelQ10d16bstokes21-07-1916_BOX_214C_599_15C_57D_1916.jpg.242c48b45603aeeeaab282e1444243f9.jpg

 

Edited by jay dubaya

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Fattyowls

Thanks are due to you J, this is a fascinating thread, and getting fascinatinger by the hour. I am reasonably familiar with the area but I'm still slightly struggling to picture where the pits would have been. I am in contact with the family of Albert White VC of the SWB who attacked in this area on 1st July and I'm sure they would be interested to see what the ground looked like on the day (provided I'm in the right grid square of course - not a given).

 

Pete.

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jay dubaya

Alas I'm not familiar with the ground Pete and I am totally reliant on google at present (although this is proving to be quite fruitful). It was the Newfoundlanders that led me here whilst researching their casualties of the 1st July and their original burial places. I think I have images which cover the area the Newfoundlanders and the SWB attempted to cross on that fateful day in 1916.

The 51st Division CRE diary for (October 1916 gives us some coordinates for the 2 Russian Saps with gun pits blown at the ends, accompanying map below, which may be the full map from your extract above. Tunnel B (Sap 6 or 1st Avenue) from Q.10.d.1.65 to Q.10.d.45.7. Tunnel C (Sap 7 or Mary Tunnel) from Q.17.a.4.3 to Q.17.a.7.55. Some caution has to be applied to these coordinates when using available maps as the location can be way out on some, same applies to the north points annotated on most of the aerial images.

 

J

 

43112_2845_0-00487.thumb.jpg.3c4fa4e2792bd616c6807fc74f28e8d8.jpg

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Open Bolt

Yes, same as excerpt.

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andrew pugh

Hi J

The Pioneer Battalions of the 51st Highland Division dug an enormous amount of Sapping and Tunnelling in this area 13th/14th November 1916.

Regards Andy.

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jay dubaya

Thanks for that Andy, I found reference to the 1/8th Royal Scots contribution to the subterranean activities within the divisional CRE diary, the chalk spoils seen on the aerial images on either side of No Man's Land are a great telltale of the amount of work undertaken and there are many ghost trenches still visible on google earth which is a great help when attempting to image overlay, the preserved trenches within the Newfoundland Memorial Park are a great gift for such work, it's also interesting to note that most of the ghost trenches are German and perhaps this is testament to the depth and quality employed in their construction

 

J

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Skipman

I have the attached in my collection. Probably doesn't help much but interesting enough.

 

Mike

Beaumont Hamel aerial.JPG

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jay dubaya

That helps quite a lot Mike, clearly seen are the 8 gun pits, I found that exact image online just the other night but alas it's a low res image, if you have a better quality image and would like to share I'd really appreciate that ;)

 

Cheers 303man, that's a great link, there's lots more to see in greyscale and the tree cover isn't as extensive......I'm off to play ;) 

 

J

Edited by jay dubaya
typo

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Skipman
23 hours ago, jay dubaya said:

That helps quite a lot Mike, clearly seen are the 8 gun pits, I found that exact image online just the other night but alas it's a low res image, if you have a better quality image and would like to share I'd really appreciate that

 

J

 

That's as clear an image as I have. I will see if I can get a higher res image, might take a while, not sure where original is now,

 

Mike

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jay dubaya

No worries Mike, if you don’t mind me copying what you’ve posted already as that still better than what I have

 

cheers J

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Skipman
1 hour ago, jay dubaya said:

No worries Mike, if you don’t mind me copying what you’ve posted already as that still better than what I have

 

cheers J

 

No problem at all.

 

Mike

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Skipman

Here's another copy of the aerial photo (not sure it's better, but should be)

 

Mike

Beaumont Hamel aerial.JPG

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jay dubaya

That's just splendid, it's the clearest I've seen, nice one Mike, :thumbsup:

 

J

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