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Remembered Today:

Yorkshire Trench-what condition is it in?


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I haven't visited Yorkshire Trench for several years. The last report I heard indicated that it was in a poor state of repair. I was thinking of visiting it on this year's tour as one of our 1892 Cadet Corps originals, Captain William Appleby, 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers, was blinded by a shell burst not far away in 1915. He was the first Bury Grammar School Cadet Bugler and we shall have the current occupier of that post with us on the tour. 

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Gardenerbill

It was in a good state of repair and well maintained when I was there 3 years ago.

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Aurel Sercu

It looked pretty bad when 4 parts collapsed, a while ago. Temporary repairs were made, I guess three more weeks ago (that was when I was there); by installing 4 'barricades' of sandbags blocking the way. (But descending into the trench was forbidden anyway, already before the collapses.) There are vague (?) plans for Ypres to accept the generous offer from a team in the UK to assist in the repairs. But no concrete form yet.

 

Of course it is all a matter of money and budget. And goodwill ...

 

True, when we made the site (in 2000) we did not look ahead of us far enough, and we did not realize that if the stuff we used to fill the sandbags with was not good (and sure, it was not good at all !), the trench would hardly last longer than the original one (which was there 1916-18). Well, it survived a lot (?) longer. So we'd better be glad.  :-)

I may post a few pics of how it looks now.

 

Aurel

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Aurel Sercu

A few pics taken 4 weeks ago (12 Jan.)

Aurel

 

Yorkshire Trench 12-01-2020 repairs (1).JPG

Yorkshire Trench 12-01-2020 repairs (3).JPG

Yorkshire Trench 12-01-2020 repairs (5).JPG

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Thanks for your replies. I might instead do a stand opposite the position of the battalion HQ dugout on the canal bank where William Appleby and other 2nd LF officers were wounded by a German shell. I need to work out how far along it is from Essex Farm.20200208_075012.jpg.d511c91b362501c328cb8b1b52bfc858.jpg I would assume that it's pretty likely that Appleby was treated at the Dressing Station there. 

Edited by Mark Hone
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Aurel Sercu

Mark,

Essex Farm to Yorkshire Trench is 2 km. As the crow flies.

But in reality 4.5 km (taking the road owest of the canal, to Boezinge bridge), , and then some distance back east of the canal.

Was captain Appleby treated at the Essex Fm Dressing station ?

(I am asking because if I remember correctly, the wounded in that International Trench battle on the east bank of the canal, were treated at Hull's Farm (next to Talana Farm Cemetery, just 100 m south of the cemetery, the present farm with the tall trees)), and the walking wounded at Lodi Farm (next to Bard Cottage Cemetery, not rebuilt after the war.). But I can be wrong.... Maybe exceptions for officers ?)

 

Aurel

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WhiteStarLine

Mark, the Battalion HQ trench was just in from Bridge 6E and this is 1.75km north of Essex as the cocky flies.  Here are the bridges from International to Essex.  As it gets a bit cluttered, the inset just shows an enlarged area encompassing Yser Canal, Yorkshire and Fortin 17.  Hulls Farm is ~ 600 m west of Bridge 6C.  Bard Cottage is close to Bridge 6.

 

image.png.b474ff004fe5d6e69295afe202770063.png 

 

This should be pretty close:

image.png.9a5a6d41e50143e5113542da3901ebed.png

Sources: tMapper, Gazetteer of the Western Front, National Library of Scotland

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Ah, I was speculating about him being treated at Essex Farm. Hull's Farm would be very interesting as we have a connection with that location through Bury Grammar old boy Private Herbert Bridge ( subject of another thread). Aurel, I wasn't thinking of walking from Essex Farm to Yorkshire Trench but conducting the stand on the Essex Farm side of the canal opposite the site of the HQ where William Appleby was wounded. I'll have to think it through but I sense an itinerary beginning to take shape. The map/tMapper montage is incredibly useful, WhiteStarLine Thanks for all of the valuable info provided by Forum Pals 

Edited by Mark Hone
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Aurel Sercu

Mark and White Star Line,

I did not want to be too direct, but when I saw your mention of Essex Farm Dressing Station and that Captain Appleby was or may have been treated there (in what is generally referred to as the McCrae bunkers - though it is my opinion that John McCrae wrote the poem 500 metres farther north, where "Lakebos" is, near Bridge 6D), well I was a little (?) critical ... Even finding it hard to believe. I cannot remember where exactly I read about Hull's Farm and Lodi Farm being the dressing stations, but I am sure it was in the WD of 2nd Lancs or other troops that were involved in the Battle of International Trench 6 - 9 July 1915. (But I thought ... well, Captain Appleby was a captain, maybe ... ?)

 

Aurel

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How easy it to get down to the canal from Bard Cottage, on foot? Another possible option. 

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Aurel Sercu

Very simple. No obstacle whatsoever. (Be careful though when you cross the main road.)

 

Aurel

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There were other ADSs on the canal bank over the few hundred metres to the north: Essex Farm ADS at C19c 4.1,  then Sussex Farm ADS at C19c2.6, Fusilier ADS at C13c1.2, and St John ADS at C13a 2.3, almost opposite Zwannhof.

 

Peter

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Aurel Sercu

Peter,

Were these ADSs there already in the summer of 1915?

 

Aurel

 

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Aurel, I'm afraid I cannot be specific about when the ADSs were in use. The posts are marked on a map for a post-war report for Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers, not sure who wrote the report but is a trawl through mining and medical diaries.

A couple of early probabilities are that 509 RE Company recorded working on a 16th Field Ambulance aid post , and 458 Field Company RE making aid post in the canal bank schrapnel proof in May 1915.

It is very frustrating that various map references, dates and units in war diaries are generally not very specific. However it is safe to assume that the canal bank was a hive of activity from early 1915 onwards.

 

Peter

 

PS by the way, recently found a reference to a subway through the canal bank at Boesinghe, B 12d 8.6 for 3rd Ypres. Do you know it?

 

PPS I think the report for RMRE was trying to determine history of Essex Farm, they had left the Ypres area for the Somme in early 1916.

 

Edited by mebu
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Aurel Sercu

Peter,

 

Thanks for your posting.

And you wrote ...

"recently found a reference to a subway through the canal bank at Boesinghe, B 12d 8.6 for 3rd Ypres. Do you know it?"

No ... But I see I know where the place is. Very close to (approx. 50 metres south of)  where the Ieperlee with a sort of overflow ran into the canal.

 

Aurel

 

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Thanks for all of this. I haven't been to see the information point at Klein Zwaanhof since it was put up. Would a stop there be of any value, do you think? 

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Enquireinside

Klein Zwaanhoof is well worth a stop. I always stop off en route. Always quiet.  Great archaeology from the area on display. This is a great asset. 

IMG_6773.JPG

IMG_6769.JPG

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