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Remembered Today:

Shiny steel triangles worn on rear during the somme


Steviebullsatatter
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Does anyone know if there are any of these out there for sale. 

I've always wanted to find one that is genuinely from the somme battle although I'm not completely sure if they were used before or after 1916.

 

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5 hours ago, Steviebullsatatter said:

Does anyone know if there are any of these out there for sale. 

I've always wanted to find one that is genuinely from the somme battle although I'm not completely sure if they were used before or after 1916.

 

They were home made by splitting empty tins of food and flattening them out and then cutting into triangles.  Personally I’ve never seen one and given their makeshift nature I suspect that few have survived.  Accounts indicated that they were made as part of the preparations and various measures for determining the extent (progress) of advancing troops once the attack was launched on 1st July 1916.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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7 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:

They were home made by splitting empty tins of food and flattening them out and then cutting into triangles.  Personally I’ve never seen one and given their makeshift nature I suspect that few have survived.  Accounts indicated that they were made as part of the preparations and various measures for determining the extent (progress) of advancing troops once the attack was launched on 1st July 1916.

Frogsmile

Thanks for explaining how these were made..makes sense really. Thus explains why I've never seen one. 

Be interested to hear from anyone who has seen one .

Regards Steve 

 

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1 hour ago, Steviebullsatatter said:

Frogsmile

Thanks for explaining how these were made..makes sense really. Thus explains why I've never seen one. 

Be interested to hear from anyone who has seen one .

Regards Steve 

 

The Imperial War Museum is the most likely place, perhaps you could ask them when they open again.  Given the circumstances of 1st July 1916 and the 2+ more years of war that followed with its concomitant ebb and flow of battle, l struggle to see how many, if any will have survived. 

Edited by FROGSMILE
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I too would imagine that virtually all were discarded in the locale - why would anyone not do so? That means they all went into the ground and anyone digging one up now would not look twice at them. I assume they were thin tin plated steel so they wouldn’t last very well.

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4 minutes ago, PhilB said:

I too would imagine that virtually all were discarded in the locale - why would anyone not do so? That means they all went into the ground and anyone digging one up now would not look twice at them. I assume they were thin tin plated steel so they wouldn’t last very well.

Agreed... 

But- a big But 

Someone who went over the top and survived or Someone who was prevented from going over the top just may have kept it as a souvenir. 

Just makes me wonder if there is one still out in people land.

My grandfather was in action in Italy and came home with a beautiful painted ornate glass jug with a lid.

From one of the battles...my father still has it in his cabinet. 

Always makes me smile when I think of him

IMG-20200205-WA0001.jpg

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12 minutes ago, PhilB said:

I too would imagine that virtually all were discarded in the locale - why would anyone not do so? That means they all went into the ground and anyone digging one up now would not look twice at them. I assume they were thin tin plated steel so they wouldn’t last very well.

Yes those were my thoughts too.  Just part of the detritus of battle and hardly something that a soldier of the time would overly reflect upon.

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1 hour ago, FROGSMILE said:

The Imperial War Museum is the most likely place, perhaps you could ask them when they open again.  Given the circumstances of 1st July 1916 and the 2+ more years of war that followed with its concomitant ebb and flow of battle, l struggle to see how many, if any will have survived. 

Good idea frogsmile

I'll let you know how I get on. 

Steve 

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" Shiny steel triangles worn on rear during the somme"

 

I must be the only person in the world who has never heard about these.

Could you elaborate?

"On the rear".... of what?

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16 minutes ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

" Shiny steel triangles worn on rear during the somme"

 

I must be the only person in the world who has never heard about these.

Could you elaborate?

"On the rear".... of what?

They were apparently suspended from the back of the fighting order (so presumably small packs) of the leading waves of the 1st July assault, the intention being that the Dawn sun would reflect off them and indicate to trench and OP based observers where the first assault elements had reached.  It was just one of various measures, including RFC contact patrols flying high above, to try and improve situational awareness during those pre battlefield radios times, and also during what it was anticipated would be a day of confused reporting.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Made from biscuit tins I thought. Wondering now if tin triangles were used by other divisions at different times.

 

Tin triangles on your back going over the top 1/7/16 - not so bad. Being the man picked to carry a 6ft pole with pennant 😟.

TEW

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25 minutes ago, TEW said:

Made from biscuit tins I thought. Wondering now if tin triangles were used by other divisions at different times.

 

Tin triangles on your back going over the top 1/7/16 - not so bad. Being the man picked to carry a 6ft pole with pennant 😟.

TEW

Yes it reminds one of the young subalterns that led the forlorn hopes during the Napoleonic Wars.  I read elsewhere that ‘Biscuit Tin’ was a generic term for the metal material used, and that the triangles were improvised from such tin wherever they could get it from consumable ration containers.

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Just found the precise description.

 

 

Diamond shaped screens, one per platoon all be carried of the following colours.

29th Division. Vertical division - red one half yellow one half.

4th Division. Horizontal division - red above, yellow below. (NB 4th division refers to the screens as fans)

 

29 Division had 64 such screens per brigade.

 

Another order- One man in each grenadier squad will carry a flag one foot square with a vertical division red one half and yellow the other half, on a 6ft stick. These flags will be carried and must never be planted in the ground. 64 flags will be issued to each brigade on application to DADOS.

 

Just noticed that if the orders were adhered to then the 29th Division tin triangles had 7 inch sides whereas 4th divisions were 9 inch sides.

 

Not sure about 31st division, they also had the 6ft sticks with bright flag, horizontal division, yellow on top red below but don't have the diary to see if they also had tin triangles.

 

64 flags per brigade & 3 divisions. If one brigade per division was in reserve that's still about 380 men being picked as bright flag carriers.

TEW

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Poor b*****s, can’t help picturing in my mind the fate of red and yellow flag carriers as they ‘walked over’ into the German lines....

Edited by FROGSMILE
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I'm clinging to the hope that the bright flags were discarded pretty quick. Lots of German accounts of the day and never seen any mention of these flags beyond the plans.

TEW

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Stills from the official battle of the Somme film (1916)

First image described as the Hampshire's  moving up to the attack (note metal triangles hanging the packs)

Second still, The Lancashire Fusiliers fixing bayonets, and passing through communication trench to the frontline. (note the chap on the right) 

 

 

trang-01.jpg

trang-02.jpg

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Fascinating, thanks all.

Hopefully they were more successful than the preceeding artillery barrage.

Edited by Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
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19 hours ago, Steviebullsatatter said:

Does anyone know if there are any of these out there for sale. 

I've always wanted to find one that is genuinely from the somme battle although I'm not completely sure if they were used before or after 1916.

 

Hi

I have written on the use of 'Tin Triangles' in use as for something for Contact Aeroplanes to spot during the Somme (in context with other devices used) in an article 'Showing the Line on the Western Front in World War One' that formed part of The Society for Army Historical Research Commemorative Special Publication on the First World War 'A Long, Long Trail A-Winding'.  It was not totally successful for that role as it showed 'general progress' rather than the actual forward position.  The 'Tin triangles' were used for ground observation as well and in that use they pre-date the Somme.  The AWM has one in their collection (IIRC it was not from the Somme):

680511440_WW1TinTriangle3.jpg.333be20cd60db25de8d6b8ca1107c2ff.jpg

 

Various sizes were used at the Somme, I did some 'mock-ups' some time ago based on War Diary and photographic evidence, but 'Tin Discs' continued in use throughout the war but usually kept inside the soldier's jacket until called for:

482967821_WW1TinTriangle4.jpg.19d2bf0554afd1c8c880ad65195e857f.jpg

 

During the Somme some formations used 'cloth flaps' on the back of their haversacks instead of 'Tin triangles', these can also be seen in the 'Somme Film'.

 

Mike

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9 minutes ago, MikeMeech said:

Hi

I have written on the use of 'Tin Triangles' in use as for something for Contact Aeroplanes to spot during the Somme (in context with other devices used) in an article 'Showing the Line on the Western Front in World War One' that formed part of The Society for Army Historical Research Commemorative Special Publication on the First World War 'A Long, Long Trail A-Winding'.  It was not totally successful for that role as it showed 'general progress' rather than the actual forward position.  The 'Tin triangles' were used for ground observation as well and in that use they pre-date the Somme.  The AWM has one in their collection (IIRC it was not from the Somme):

680511440_WW1TinTriangle3.jpg.333be20cd60db25de8d6b8ca1107c2ff.jpg

 

Various sizes were used at the Somme, I did some 'mock-ups' some time ago based on War Diary and photographic evidence, but 'Tin Discs' continued in use throughout the war but usually kept inside the soldier's jacket until called for:

482967821_WW1TinTriangle4.jpg.19d2bf0554afd1c8c880ad65195e857f.jpg

 

During the Somme some formations used 'cloth flaps' on the back of their haversacks instead of 'Tin triangles', these can also be seen in the 'Somme Film'.

 

Mike

Mike

I appreciate your reply. Thankyou for taking the time to add the photos as well.

I find it extremely interesting to find out so much information as harvested by the good people on here.

Its incredible how much stuff you can find out by just scratching the surface. 

Regards 

Steve 

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8 hours ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

" Shiny steel triangles worn on rear during the somme"

 

I must be the only person in the world who has never heard about these.

Could you elaborate?

"On the rear".... of what?

Dai

On a lot of the footage of the men going over the top you can clearly see triangular shiny attachments to the mens backpacks. 

Always fascinated me 

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A crop from IWM photo Q 730 showing ‘Men of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment resting in reserve, Jacob’s Ladder, Beaumont Hamel, July 1916’

 

 

74035FE1-D33D-4BA8-B4BD-AB0186C8A6A6.jpeg

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36 minutes ago, Steviebullsatatter said:

Dai

On a lot of the footage of the men going over the top you can clearly see triangular shiny attachments to the mens backpacks. 

Always fascinated me 

Well well.

Never ever noticed one before!

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11 minutes ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

Well well.

Never ever noticed one before!

Always something new to learn Dai

When we think we knew it all we soon realise we don't. 

Fascinating stuff 

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