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

Remembered Today:

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


Mark Hone
 Share

Recommended Posts

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
Link to comment
Share on other sites

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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
Link to comment
Share on other sites

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

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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
Link to comment
Share on other sites

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...
On 14/02/2020 at 20:35, mebu said:

Whoops sorry, didn't attach map.

img409.jpg

Thanks for that

I have been reading the WD of 431 Field Co RE (66 Div) who were based at Dead End Camp N Ypres in October 1917. The Co was working on the Wieltje to Gravenstafel road and in particular laying a plank road from Spree Farm (Sheet 28 NW C 18 d 3 4) to Kansas Cross Roads (Sheet 28 NE D 14 a 3 2). I could not find Dead End Camp.

Brian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for this further contribution. Fingers crossed, I am planning to revive the Battlefields Tour in 2022 after a two year Covid-imposed hiatus. The itinerary will be very much based on that intended for October 2020, so if the location of John Hartington's wounding could be finally established that would be very much appreciated. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dead End most certainly is the area around the end of the canal. I have seen it on maps  - maybe in a WD somewhere - but despite having looked I cannot find it marked. 

For a map reference for the MGC, have you tried the related Divisional diaries? they often have lists of locations of units.

Peter

 

PS Div CRE refers to shelling of ammo dump on 12th July, visits "Dead End of Canal" couple of days later.

Edited by mebu
added
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Mark Hone said:

Thanks for this further contribution. Fingers crossed, I am planning to revive the Battlefields Tour in 2022 after a two year Covid-imposed hiatus. The itinerary will be very much based on that intended for October 2020, so if the location of John Hartington's wounding could be finally established that would be very much appreciated. 

Mark

I have the July 1917 WD of 19 Corps A&QMG (WO 95/963/3) and I checked for lists of Unit locations with no luck. On p 87/137 however there is A&Q Summary no 38 which shows that 36 Div Artillery att 55 Div arrived on 06/07/1917 and were in locations G 5 c 7 5 and G 4 d 8 2. There are other A&Q Summaries from p 64 to  p 87 which show Artillery arrivals but these were mainly RGA Units. 

I wondered if the Howitzer Bty might be 36 Div but the WD of the CRA 36 Div (WO 95/2494/1) July 1917 is missing, the same for 153 and 173 Brigades RFA according to Discovery. The WD of 36 Div A&QMG (2494/3) has no mention of the Artillery move.

Image courtesy TNA (WO 95/963/3 - 19 Corps A&QMG p 87).

Brian

001.JPG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all of this. I can only conclude that John Hartington was fatally wounded somewhere in the vicinity of 164 Brigade HQ, which was situated at I.8.a.9.6, as per 55 DIV Divisional Adjutant's War Diary (cited by Chris Baker), in the ramparts north of the Menin Gate. It would be nice to ascertain the exact position of the ammunition dump which exploded but we have probably got as far as possible. Thank you all for your assistance and to Brian for his recent trawling of artillery WDs. 

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
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...