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Remembered Today:

Needle Trench & Tokio Ridge


Robyn

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I hope someone is able to assist with a little information that relates to time my grandfather spent in the Great War around Ypres Belgium & France.

He was from the 59th Australian Battalion and was wounded on two occaisions before being sent home from multiple gunshot wounds & toxaemia.

We are looking to visit the western front as a family and I have been able to find a great deal of information online. We are hoping to visit the areas that he served and wanted to locate information on Needle Trench and Tokio Ridge.

If anyone can assist it would be appreciated. Thank you

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There are two Needle Trench one  Radinghem 36sW2 N10b,d, and Geudecourt 57cSW1 N26c,32a,b,d,T3a

Tokio Ridge Zonnebeke  28NE1 D27d, 28c,d, J4a,b

 

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Hi Robyn,

 

Welcome to the forum.  If you post a name we can collectively help you and possibly give you a modern map with the exact location of where the 59th were when it occurred.

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My grandfathers name was Phillip Loxton - Service No. 1226 (Australian)

 

WOUNDED IN ACTION 22/11/1916 - Needle Trench

WOUNDED IN ACTION 14/10/1917 - Tokio Ridge
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Thanks Robyn, that was helpful.  Let's start with November 1916.  The unit war diaries for 59th Battalion have them at Needle Trench in November and December 1916.  The war diary lists all the trenches and their locations:

image.png.db75aaa2625093ab59b0414cbcd6e394.png

 

However, this is not where the Brigade War Diary puts Needle Trench.  To stop others getting as confused as I was, I've deleted my map and left in grid references taken from the battalion diary.

  1. Sheet 57c.S.23.d.5.0 "A" Camp, is where they say entire battalion was at 19/11/16 (50.011920, 2.804858).
  2. Sheet 57c.S.23.d.8.5 is where the battalion says Needle Trench is, which is in Trones Wood.
  3. Sheet 57c.S.23.c.2.2 is where the battalion says Needle Dump is.

 

image.png.b9b2e58c20561254063a0566e8415961.png

 

But the brigade says something quite different and produces a map with a clear illustration of every trench, ironically exactly where Edward1 says they are.  I am treating this as my primary source for Robyn's journey:

image.png.3a1d194cd10bb9aeea52c81c3edcdbeb.png

Edited by WhiteStarLine
Same trench, different position given in battalion and brigade unit war diary.
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OK, Robyn, this 15 Brigade sketch aligns nicely with the modern map and has a clear location for the 1916 battalion HQ with a modern lat, lon that you can enter in Google Maps and navigate to (post COVID!).  It also precisely aligns with Edward's Needle Trench reference.  Click to enlarge:

image.png.9914e2f153f0bd879dd8bf6b36ce68b7.png Image referencing courtesy GeoRef

 image.png.5c4cb7d49e284ada7ca92ecb7eacea77.png

 

 

image.png.a6b6e59dc85f4f759f561974836f7a39.png

 

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On 29/11/2020 at 21:11, EDWARD1 said:

J4a,b

I'm with Edward.  28.J.4.b at the lat, lon shown below is 59 Battalion HQ.  Click to enlarge - can't get much closer than that.

Image referencing courtesy GeoRef

image.png.441327624e6db0b317411597d5f74ae7.png

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Here is another confirmation of Needle Dump, via the Individual Burial Locations (often incorrectly called Body Density) series.  These were maps showing where known numbers of unrecovered bodies should be exhumed and reburied.  Image credit WFA.

image.png.de101adc8d45a101270aeb0479e66d8a.png

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Robyn, here is a trench map from the unit war diary for October 14 1917.  Click to enlarge and see locations of Battalion HQ at 50.86303, 2.99934. D Coy is at 50.86263, 2.99802.  C Coy is at 50.86406, 3.00307 and B Coy is at 50.86567, 3.00835.  This all assumes the pencilled markings and trench positions on this map in the unit war diary are for the 59th Battalion.  The next page of the unit war diary talks about patrols to Celtic Wood, so seems reasonable.

image.png.7586daa91963ded6c49e5c231cec59c1.png

 

The town just at the NW corner is Zonnebeke and the road running north out of square D.29 runs to Broodseinde.  Ignore the blue pins as they were part of aligning features.

Credit GeoRef

image.png.434e486c0c7177ae930ea896951bf236.png

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On 29/11/2020 at 21:11, EDWARD1 said:

Tokio Ridge Zonnebeke  28NE1 D27d

Infallible Edward gets it right again!  I've just located this August 1917 trench map which shows Tokio at 50.87267, 2.98981, or 28.D.27.d.   The topographic map shows that the brigade was astride the ridge and it ran in parallel to the road, so no corrections needed.  The battalion was positioned as in the previous post and the name 'Tokio' appears in the same trench map, which is our correlation.  Click to enlarge.

Image: WFA and GeoRef 

image.png.920b607acc930b02500e8f63b3df958f.png

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you again. This information is priceless. We look forward as a family to travel to these areas when COVID is over, to stand proud where my grandfather and all other soldiers fought.

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Hi Robyn,

 

To add to the excellent info above - some 1917 images of Tokio and environs....

 

 

Tokio.jpg

Tokio-close-up.jpg

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The first oblique aerial in my second post is dated 21 July 1917, the last photo is late September '17.

 

This coloured relief map is a bit easier on the eye:

 

relief-map.jpg.3629af2b3b6d33d8b93ad90bfa57c403.jpg

Good on you,

Grant

Edited by grantmal
additional material
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  • 1 year later...

Hi,

I am following up on the discussion here about Somme trenches. The information here has been invaluable. 

I am researching a relative killed on 14th Dec 1916, a private in the AIF 59th Battalion, Stanley Beck. I found a reference that he was killed at Flers. On this date, Battalion diaries say 5 were killed with  shelling of Needle Trench. Maybe this was where he was. I hadn't been able to find Needle Trench details until I found this site and it is close to Flers. 

Battalion diary seems to have a grid reference on 10th Dec of N33 C22. Also mentions Windmill, Cow and Mail trenches occupied on the 13th together with Needle trench.  Does anyone know of these? Also what do the grid references link to?

Finally Stanley Beck has no burial place listed, any thoughts?

Regards

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  • Admin

Welcome to the Forum. Cow, Mail and Windmill trenches are on sheet Longueval 57cSW3 references T3 a, c,d T2 a,b and S17, a.

How to interpret a trench map

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/battlefields/how-to-read-a-british-trench-map/

Ref no known grave. It could be he did originally have a known burial, but his grave was destroyed in later fighting, or the original cross was lost. He may well have a grave, but his body would be buried under a stone which says A Soldier Of The Great War, Known Unto God. 

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Windmill = N.33.d

Mail trench = T. 2.b

Cow trench = T.3.c and d (extension of Needle trench)

 

 

image.png.6ffc22077549d31afc77359892bce44f.png

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Thank you both for such an informative response. Much appreciated. The trench map from Don is very clear. What was the source of it?  Actually your joint information showed up that there are two Windmills. One at S17a and also N33 d. Don's map shows a trench at N33 d.

The information on reading a map helped a lot and the CWGC records as well.

Thanks again.

David

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6 hours ago, Infoseeker said:

What was the source of it? 

Hello David.

It's actually an extract from the Memory Map trench maps I use with my Linesman application (Great War Digital).  You can also check out some maps at the National Library of Scotland website:

https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15&lat=50.04219&lon=2.83997&layers=101464777&b=1

or at the McMaster website:

https://library.mcmaster.ca/maps/ww1/ndx5to40.htm

Regards.

Reg

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