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Mark Hone

'Dead End' at Ypres, site of 164th MG Coy HQ July 1917

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Mark Hone

During the massive German bombardment of Ypres on 12th/13th July 1917, former Captain of Bury Grammar School,  Lt. John Hartington MC,  was mortally wounded by a piece of 4.5 " shell from the detonation of a battery ammo dump near to his Machine Gun Company's positions. By examination of the relevant War Diaries I have established that this occurred in the vicinity of the end of the canal north of the Menin Gate, known unsurprisingly as 'Dead End'. Unfortunately I haven't got an exact grid reference for the 164th MG Company HQ.  We have visited John's grave at Lijssenthoek on previous school tours but this year I thought I'd include a stand at Dead End itself. I've walked past the site a couple of times over the years but never stopped for a closer look. Does anyone have more detailed knowledge of possible points of interest?

John is one of the school's old boys currently featured in a display at the Fusilier Museum in Bury:  'Stories of Fallen Swans'. 

Edited by Mark Hone

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EDWARD1

According to McMasters, NLS, and the NA British Trench Map Atlas, Tattenham Corner (Dead End) is 28NW4 I2c1.5  (50 51` 29" N, 2 53` 04"E.)The canal end.

Dead End Camp is 28NW4 I2c1.8

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Mark Hone

Edward, thanks for that but I think that must be a different 'Dead End'. The 55th Division War Diary indicates that 164th Brigade was established on the east side of the city in mid-July, with forward elements in Potijze and Brigade HQ in the ramparts of Ypres and on the canal bank. On a previous thread it was established that this must have been in the area north of the Menin Gate, where a canal also comes to an abrupt stop. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be labelled as 'Dead End' on contemporary trench maps. 

Edited by Mark Hone

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EDWARD1

The WD for the 164th Inf Bgde on the 12th states that 3000-4000 shells into NORTHERN YPRES.3 guns of a 4.5" How battery and the ammunition dump which contained a number of gas shells fired. The explosion from this dump caused considerable damage to our M G HQ close by.

I would say the Menin Gate is more Easterly than North

Then again there may be more Dead Ends

 

 

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WhiteStarLine
30 minutes ago, Mark Hone said:

area north of the Menin Gate, where a canal also comes to an abrupt stop

The areas cited by Edward (and also found in Rat's Alley) seem to be north of Menin Gate and where the canal comes to an abrupt stop.  A brigade takes up a fair area and the positions are 2.2 km west of Potijze.

 

image.png.b4dc88d20fe2ea7e9de9bbaf71409f4d.png

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Mark Hone

Thanks for this. Yes, I'm beginning to be convinced. A pity that as far as I can tell a grid ref isn't given for MG Coy HQ. 

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mebu

Dead End certainly is the end of the canal north of Ypres. Can't find a marked map at present; attached is an American history, which puts the camp at the end of the canal - at the location stated by Edward.

 

Peter

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mebu

Whoops sorry, didn't attach map.

img409.jpg

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WhiteStarLine

Nice work mebu and Edmund.  My measurement puts the centre of the filled circle in Dead End Camp at Sheet 28.I.2.c.25.81, in accordance with Rat's Alley.  This now aligns with 3 GWF forumites and a number of authoritative references, so your school should be reasonably confident when you stand nearby!

 

image.png.5597a23741f6b67f11e8b5a08fce75ad.png

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Mark Hone

Thanks. I  am grateful to you all for clearing up my misconception that the 'Dead End' in question was the one just up from the Menin Gate. The new location fits in better with the part of my provisional itinerary taking in the canal area: Essex Farm, Hull's Farm, Bard Cottage and the canal bank opposite International Trench.  I just have to work out the best place to stop the coach near the end of the canal....

Edited by Mark Hone

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Chris_Baker

The war diary of the divisional adjutant includes statements of locations. This is 8 July. Unfortunately there is then a gap to 22 July by which time the brigade has been relieved and moved to Watou. TNA WO95/2909. Crown Copyright.

 

 

Capture.JPG

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Mark Hone

Thanks, Chris. That throws things into a bit of doubt again. The location of Brigade HQ given in the War Diary is exactly in the area I originally thought that John Hartington was wounded-i.e. near the end of the short spur of the moat which  leads north from the Menin Gate. Of course that doesn't mean that the MG Coy HQ was also located there. It's a pity I haven't yet managed to find a grid reference for the 4.5" battery whose ammunition dump was detonated in the bombardment.  Thank you all again for your help with this and thanks also to the creators of the marvellous tMapper. 

This is a link to my current entry for John Hartington on our school Roll of Honour. In the light of the contents of this thread, I may have to amend it:

http://bgsarchive.co.uk/Filename.ashx?tableName=ta_boys_rollofhonour&columnName=filename&recordId=58

 

Edited by Mark Hone

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