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

Remembered Today:

Ypres to Bethune - Mapping Brigades?


Dave C
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi all, 

Thanks for reading!

I'm on a mission to explore locations concerning the 2/4th Loyal North Lancashire Battalion.  I'm making decent progress, slowly trawling through the war diary of the 2/4th on Ancestry where I've also found the war diary of the 170th Brigade in 57th (2nd West Lancashire Division).  I've also got the Wylly book which is helping with that, I've also got "Pillars of Fire: The Battle of Messines Ridge" on the way.  I've found the trench maps on the National Library of Scotland website - awesome maps! - I've figured out how to turn the codes in the diary into actual locations and had I suppose a semi-successful time finding the same locations today.

My goal is to explain with maps where the Battalion was at various times - perhaps showing 40km North to South.  I've figured out that the Battalion (in individual companies) tended to dip in and out of the front line at various times but the brigade tended to be a bit more static so perhaps I could map where the different Brigades were.  I notice the front was organised into sectors but I've never seen a map of where each sector starts and ends?

I've seen the Carto1418.fr maps, which are really cool.  I have the idea of doing the same sort of thing for just specific days at Brigade level, perhaps for  just the area of Ypres to Bethune.  Any advice on how to go about it would be amazingly helpful!  ...  or any advice indicating that going about it would be a really bad idea equally so - haha!

Many thanks,

Dave C

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Dave

there are also maps at Index for WWI Maps & Air Photos (mcmaster.ca)

You can register and download complete diaries at National Archivs free at the mo

Search results: 2/4 Loyal North Lancashire | The National Archives

Make sure you only put the numbers eg 2 rather than 2nd, 5 rather than 5th

regards

Jon

Edited by jonbem
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave

The first major action for 2/4 LNL of 170 Infantry Brigade was the attack on 26/10/1917 at Poelkappelle. There are some good maps in the WD of 170 Infantry Brigade and reports which show how far 2/4 got on that day. A clearer map of the area (Shaap-Baille) can be found in the WD of 29 Div Commander Royal Artillery (WO 95/2287 - Ancestry p 301/663). My interest was 2/5 and 4/5 LNL in the same attack. I walked the ground a few years ago. 

Brian

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Make the most of the War Diaries being free, to research a Battalion you really need Brigade, Divisional, Corps, Army and GHQ Diaries... If you take one month of interest and then find all the diaries I've just mentioned I'm sure you'll find much more information and get a much bigger picture.  The Second Army occasionally have a monthly map with the Sectors marked and the Brigades in those Sectors.  The GHQ Diaries have HQ Locations for Divisions on a monthly location too.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 22/11/2021 at 01:31, Dave C said:

specific days at Brigade level,

@Dave C, I mapped the positions of the Third Division AIF in 1918 so that I could visit the same ground and stand where my grandfather once stood.  As others have said, get the relevant higher unit war diary as they know where each battalion is.  In my case it was the Formation HQ Intelligence diaries that had the Brigade HQ, every battalion and every supporting arm unit documented.  Convert the battalion locations using the tMapper bulk convert facility and download to Excel.  Or I can send you and Excel worksheet that does over 1,500 bulk conversions at a time.

My advice is to stick to battalions - if you chase very patrol / trench raid / company / company side-step as part of rotation etc the map will be too complex.

If you need assistance I can show you how to overlay these locations on a trench map extract with an opacity slider over a modern map.  Linking them via a timeline is not too dissimilar to building an opacity slider.  While it is not hard to overlay NLS maps over your own work their copyright is quite strict.  I would follow @jonbem's suggestion and use McMaster, as their image files are a creative commons license.  Also, it looks as if @brianmorris547 has an interest in common - no one on the forum seems to have quite the same expertise at knowing which are the relevant unit war diaries.

Good luck on an interesting project.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi everyone, massive thanks for all the fantastic advice in the thread... brilliant stuff!

In recent times I've been pulling maps from the NLS and - using Paint Shop Pro carefully layering them onto a modern map.  The idea being to draw, with reasonable accuracy, the line of the fire trench over it and present it like that - the file is massive! :)

If I understand it correctly battalions tended to alternate for a given location, so the 2/4th Loyals and the 2/5th Loyals (as part of the 170th Brigade) tended to occupy the same stretch between them for perhaps a few months.  This is why Brigade level will probably be the way to go.

I've bought the Peter Barton Passchendaele Panoramas book and Pillars of Fire (Messines Ridge) ..... I'm slightly concerned about the shelf they're on - haha!

It's quite amazing what's out there though it takes quite a bit of digging for - so it has to be earned! - The panoramas were a surprise in particular - wow!

A quick one if anyone knows... I know people tended to stay with the same Battalion for quite some time but can the same be said for a Company?  So if someone has been with a given battalion for e.g. 18 months and their record is annotated "B" company ... is it a reasonable assumption that they were with "B" company the whole time or did people swap and change all the time?

Cheers all - much appreciated!

Dave C

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave

My interest in 2/5 LNL and 4/5 LNL is because both Bns were raised in Bolton in 1915. 26/10/1917 was Bolton's worst day for casualties in the war and also the most bravery awards. The local papers were full of death notices and awards. I have schedules of both. The Preston papers will probably be the same for 2/4 LNL. It is possible to walk the ground from Poelkapelle on tarmac roads. I've done it twice. 

Brian

Edited by brianmorris547
typo
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...