Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Struggling to find Mory Aerodrome


Recommended Posts

Buffnut453

Despite my best efforts, I've singularly failed to locate a single photograph, diagram or even map reference regarding Mory Aerodrome.  I believe it was about 6.5 miles north of Baupaume, near the village of Mory.  However, all other attempts to locate the aerodrome have resulted in failure.  Unfortunately, it isn't included in Mike O'Connor's book "Airfields and AIrmen - Cambrai".  Might it possibly be in another volume of the series?  

 

Has anyone out there in GWF-land found an actual image or map of Mory Aerodrome?

 

Many thanks in advance,

Mark

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
Buffnut453

Bumping this thread in case anyone can me find the location of Mory Aerodrome.  Is it really lost to history?  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Possibly not as salubrious as imagined...

 

"Mory was an example of the make-shift landing ground so often serving the purpose. Mory was in a section of the country that had been a battlefield several times during the past four years . The surface of the ground was composed of a series of shell holes filled in to make a landing area, which was a hazard to land on and an adventure even to taxi over. Here we lived in bell tents"

Link to post
Share on other sites
Buffnut453
1 hour ago, IPT said:

Possibly not as salubrious as imagined...

 

"Mory was an example of the make-shift landing ground so often serving the purpose. Mory was in a section of the country that had been a battlefield several times during the past four years . The surface of the ground was composed of a series of shell holes filled in to make a landing area, which was a hazard to land on and an adventure even to taxi over. Here we lived in bell tents"

 

That's a really helpful quote.  Can you please provide the source and, if possible, the timeframe that the quote covers.  It certainly provides some useful detail regarding the nature of the aerodrome...errr, sorry, landing ground.  

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi B453

It is definitely Mory Aerodrome? I say that as just over a couple of kilometres due west from the centre of the village of Mory is an airfield called Courcelles-le-Comte, and I’m just hypothesising that they maybe one of the same. 
This link, created by a Forum member, will take you to a map of most known airfields, but it is not of a great accuracy.(yet).You will be able to look around the area you are after.

 (https://drive.google.com/open?id=1n6YlZfWZ8WVsV0rT_UCDYdY6GOLjtKxa&usp=sharing)  
 

Good luck with your search

Link to post
Share on other sites

If your interested here is an overhead aerial photo of the Courcelle-le-Comte airfield taken in either 1917/18, copyright IWM 

3D124104-6F84-4B6A-B761-E654ED7C6209.jpeg
 

Sorry unable to help with correct orientation, there is nothing shown.

Edited by Knotty
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Buffnut453 said:

 

That's a really helpful quote.  Can you please provide the source and, if possible, the timeframe that the quote covers.  It certainly provides some useful detail regarding the nature of the aerodrome...errr, sorry, landing ground.

 

I found the quote in Google Books, in a 1971 Cross & Cockade Journal. Sadly, i couldn't extract any context.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Buffnut453

Dear All,

 

Sorry for not responding to these great posts...it's been a busy couple of days.

 

I don't think Courcelle-le-Comte is the same airfield as Mory.  Ian Philpott's "Birth of the Royal Air Force" lists 12 Sqn being at Courcelles-le-Comte in August 1917 and then at Mory in September 1918.  Is it reasonable to expect that the name of the airfield would change mid-war?  Also, the aerial image of Courcelles-le-Comte (thanks very much for that, Knotty) looks far more developed than the description that IPT provided.

 

Now, I could be completely wrong and Courcelles-le-Comte could have been renamed as Mory, although 4km is quite a distance and airfields typically were named after the closest village.  I just find the total absence of information quite startling...not even a single image or map reference.  

 

I do appreciate all the inputs.  Please do keep offering ideas...particularly if anyone finds info that proves me wrong about the likelihood of Courcelles-le-Comte being renamed.

 

Kind regards,
Mark

Link to post
Share on other sites
alex revell

The finest, definitive and essential  book I know on the subject is Wing/C0 C G Jefford's RAF Squadrons which gives locations and movements of all RFC/RAF Squadrons since 1912. Mory aerodrome is listed as being south of Arras. Using the map scale, between seven or eight miles.   

Link to post
Share on other sites
Buffnut453
7 hours ago, alex revell said:

The finest, definitive and essential  book I know on the subject is Wing/C0 C G Jefford's RAF Squadrons which gives locations and movements of all RFC/RAF Squadrons since 1912. Mory aerodrome is listed as being south of Arras. Using the map scale, between seven or eight miles.   

 

According to GoogleMaps, Mory is about 10 miles south(ish) of Arras.  Unfortunately, Mory and Courcelle-le-Comte are close enough together that it would be hard to differentiate between them on a sketch map.  

 

Unfortunately, the trench map I downloaded from the National Library of Scotland which covers both Mory and Courcelle-le-Comte (Sheet 57C NW), dated July 1918, doesn't show any airfields near either location, despite the map key showing a symbol for an aerodrome.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
MikeMeech
32 minutes ago, Buffnut453 said:

 

According to GoogleMaps, Mory is about 10 miles south(ish) of Arras.  Unfortunately, Mory and Courcelle-le-Comte are close enough together that it would be hard to differentiate between them on a sketch map.  

 

Unfortunately, the trench map I downloaded from the National Library of Scotland which covers both Mory and Courcelle-le-Comte (Sheet 57C NW), dated July 1918, doesn't show any airfields near either location, despite the map key showing a symbol for an aerodrome.  

Hi

 

Have you asked 'Cross & Cockade' yet?  They have started a series 'Gazetteer of British Flying Sites in France, Belgium and Germany', with maps and plans, although it will be a while before they get to 'Mory' as they are only to part 2 at present.  You could ask them nicely or even PM Mick Davies who is editor, they may have some location details.

 

Mike

Link to post
Share on other sites
Buffnut453
1 hour ago, MikeMeech said:

Hi

 

Have you asked 'Cross & Cockade' yet?  They have started a series 'Gazetteer of British Flying Sites in France, Belgium and Germany', with maps and plans, although it will be a while before they get to 'Mory' as they are only to part 2 at present.  You could ask them nicely or even PM Mick Davies who is editor, they may have some location details.

 

Mike

 

Hi Mike,

 

Thanks for the pointer.  I hadn't examined Cross & Cockade. 

 

I had considered subscribing but thought I'd discovered everything I needed about my RFC relative.  I'm now thinking I should reconsider and feel I should become a member before asking questions.  I think it's only fair.

 

I really appreciate the pointer.  

 

Kind regards,

Mark

Link to post
Share on other sites
Buffnut453
On 23/07/2020 at 16:12, IPT said:

 

I found the quote in Google Books, in a 1971 Cross & Cockade Journal. Sadly, i couldn't extract any context.

 

Hi IPT,

 

Did you, by chance, happen to note the issue number?  I decided to join Cross & Cockade so I can now purchase back-issues...and the referenced quote is definitely one I want to obtain.


Many thanks,
Mark

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Mark

Something else to consider (maybe), that might cloud the investigation, it appears that the village of Mory was behind the German lines until March 1917, and then taken back into German hands from March 1918 - Sept 1918, so the timeline is a very short one for study.

The Germans also had an Aerodrome at Lagnicourt-Marcel, about the same distance west of Mory as Courcelle, and almost straight rom one to the other as the crow flies (pardon the pun)😁

 

John

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Buffnut453 said:

Did you, by chance, happen to note the issue number? 

 

It says that the item is on p.353 of the Cross & Cockade Journal, Issue 12, (1971), if that helps

 

 

(PS - If possible, let me know it Lt. Hyde, taxiing in his DH9a is related or not)

Edited by IPT
Link to post
Share on other sites
Buffnut453
1 hour ago, Knotty said:

Hi Mark

Something else to consider (maybe), that might cloud the investigation, it appears that the village of Mory was behind the German lines until March 1917, and then taken back into German hands from March 1918 - Sept 1918, so the timeline is a very short one for study.

The Germans also had an Aerodrome at Lagnicourt-Marcel, about the same distance west of Mory as Courcelle, and almost straight rom one to the other as the crow flies (pardon the pun)😁

 

John

 

Hi John,

 

Yes, the rapid movement of the front line, coupled with the short time of RAF usage all militate against a detailed history of the airfield.  The quote that IPT provided also suggests it was a temporary site.  Seems my question was harder to answer than I imagined.

 

Kind regards,

Mark

Link to post
Share on other sites
Buffnut453
1 hour ago, IPT said:

 

It says that the item is on p.353 of the Cross & Cockade Journal, Issue 12, (1971), if that helps

 

 

(PS - If possible, let me know it Lt. Hyde, taxiing in his DH9a is related or not)

 

Naturally, the C&C website lists its back-issues by volume and edition rather than sequential issues.  Vol 1 was issued in 1970 with Vol 2 in 1971.  Given that there are only 4 volumes per year, I think there may be a mis-alignment since a 12th issue should (logically) be at the end of Vol 3 in 1972.  Vol 2 Issue 4 has articles on 29 and 87 Sqns  but there's no evidence that either unit was ever based at Mory.  The listings certainly aren't making this easy!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Buffnut453
17 minutes ago, IPT said:

 

Ahhhh...many thanks for the link.  I found the problem.  The Google reference is for the U.S. Cross & Cockade Journal whereas I was looking at Cross & Cockade International.  The former ran from 1962 until 1971 whereas the latter only started in 1970.  I've now found the U.S. Vol 12 (all 4 editions) and ordered them from Abebooks...so I'll report more when I get them.  In the meantime, maybe all our collective efforts will shed more light on my problematic question.

 

Many thanks,
Mark

Link to post
Share on other sites
Buffnut453

Decided to plough through the squadron details in Philpott's "The Birth of the Royal Air Force" which I only received a week ago. 

 

Mory only appears to have been used for a total of 43 days during the period 17 September to 9 November 1918 by 4 squadrons, with no more than 2 squadrons present on any single day within the period:   

 

12 Sqn: 17 Sep 1918 - 14 Oct 1918

13 Sqn:  22 Sep 1918 - 19 Oct 1918

11 Sqn:  15 Oct 1918 - 1 Nov 1918

57 Sqn:  22 Oct 1918 - 9 Nov 1918

 

I'm now looking forward to receiving the Cross and Cockade Vol 12 that I ordered to see what additional information or context it might provide.  

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Buffnut453
Posted (edited)

Frustratingly, information about Courcelles-le-Comte is even more limited.  According to Philpott, 12 Sqn was based there in Aug 1917: the Aerodrome web page for 12 Sqn (http://www.theaerodrome.com/services/gbritain/rfc/12.php) states that they were at Courcelles-le-Comte from 1 Aug 1917 thru 16 Dec 1917.  Interestingly, per my previous post, 12 Sqn was also at Mory roughly 12 months later. 

 

The other squadron mentioned by Philpott is 59 Sqn which was at Courcelles-le-Comte from 16 Dec 1917 to 22 Mar 1918.

Edited by Buffnut453
Link to post
Share on other sites
Buffnut453

Continuing this conversation with myself ( :D ), I found another thread on the Aerodrome which apparently quotes Leigh-Mallory's "Air of Authority":

 

"In making arrangements for the battle on Sept. 27th we were greatly hindered owing to the fact that the Squadron was concentrated at ESTREES EN CHAUSSEE on the Fourth Army front, since the major part of the fighting was at that time on that part of the front. Consequently, the distance from the Squadron to the Battalions who were fighting was on the Third Army front was very great, and communication by telephone very difficult. However, it was possible to see all the Battalions before the battle, discuss the operation with them, and make all the necessary arrangements for Dropping Stations. In order that the machines might stay their full time on the lines, MORY was used as an advanced landing ground, at which the machines could get filled up with petrol, or land in case of engine failure. The Battalions operating on the 27th, were the 7th, 15th, 11th and further South the 4th. The 7th Battalion were working with the Canadian Corps, who had the task of crossing the CANAL DU NORD, opposite INCHY, and then taking BOURLON VILLAGE. Lieut. Peffers did the Contact Patrol for the 7th Battalion, having previously been to see Col. Thorpe, the Officer Commanding. Arrangements had been made for a Battalion and 2 Company Dropping Stations. Also with a view of getting information concerning individual Tanks, they had made arrangements to paint white figures on a black background on the top of the Tanks. Lieut. Peffers, however, found it impossible to see these owing to the amount of smoke on the battlefield."

 

Based on this quote, it seems that Mory was used as an advanced landing ground which also ties in with IPT's earlier post.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Makes sense , a filling station rather than a service station😁

Link to post
Share on other sites
Buffnut453
On 24/07/2020 at 19:37, MikeMeech said:

Hi

 

Have you asked 'Cross & Cockade' yet?  They have started a series 'Gazetteer of British Flying Sites in France, Belgium and Germany', with maps and plans, although it will be a while before they get to 'Mory' as they are only to part 2 at present.  You could ask them nicely or even PM Mick Davies who is editor, they may have some location details.

 

Mike

 

Hi Mike,

 

The quote I included in Post #23 came from an entry you wrote on The Aerodrome forum on 21 October 2018.  You cite it as "L-M's 'History'".  Can you please confirm the actual volume it came from?  I thought it might have been "Air of Authority" but I'd appreciate any info on the original source.

 

Many thanks,
Mark

Link to post
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...