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Remembered Today:

Tracas Farm Photo?


CliveMcDonald1

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Is there any one of you knowledgeable folk out there who can direct me to a photograph of the Tracas Farm pillbox?

With thanks in advance

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3 hours ago, CliveMcDonald1 said:

Is there any one of you knowledgeable folk out there who can direct me to a photograph of the Tracas Farm pillbox?

With thanks in advance

You may find one in 'Pill boxes on the western front'? It is on line but only in parts, a hard copy doesn't cost too much. Failing that a blog from someone connected to regiments who fought there may turn something up. There is a web site of Ypres/Poelcappelle pictures taken by an old boy in the 60s some where. I am trying to find it for you Regards, Bob.  link here; https://books.google.ie/books?id=DN6kAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA77&lpg=PA77&dq=pill+boxes+ypres+ww1&source=bl&ots=FKyipPMA8R&sig=ACfU3U2n7uwW7tc1UwVkT5u0UVwf_XDTyQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjYsPzSruL3AhXaPsAKHegkC7I4RhDoAXoECAMQAw#v=onepage&q=pill boxes ypres ww1&f=false

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On 15/05/2022 at 18:33, CliveMcDonald1 said:

Is there any one of you knowledgeable folk out there who can direct me to a photograph of the Tracas Farm pillbox?

With thanks in advance

Hi CliveMcDonald1, I cannot find what I was looking for, sorry. @mebu might be able to help if we ask him please? Regards, Bob.

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Bob, thanks for such for such a swift reply.  I'll certiainly contact Mr @mebu (I presume I just hit the icon....?) Well here goes! Best regards Clive McDonald (a.k.a.Mac)

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9 minutes ago, CliveMcDonald1 said:

Bob, thanks for such for such a swift reply.  I'll certiainly contact Mr @mebu (I presume I just hit the icon....?) Well here goes! Best regards Clive McDonald (a.k.a.Mac)

Hi Mac, mebu should have a message sent to him already by me tagging him in my last post. There is a thread about Tracas Farm on here from some years ago. I just put the word Tracas into the search option and it came up. Best of luck, Bob.

Tracas Mebus Post near Poelcapelle


Stebie9173

By Stebie9173,
12 March , 2006 in The Western Front

 
 
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Phew! thanks for the prompt warning. I was just about to hit the go button. (I did wonder at how the "if we ask him" bit worked!)

Out of interest, heres my motivation. I have been told that an unknown soldier of the North Staffs was buried at the Tracas Farm map location and relocated in the Poelcappelle Cemetery. There is a reasonable chance (1 in 8) that that was my grandfather. He was killed on 2nd December 1917.

thanks for your help.

Mac

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@CliveMcDonald1 Happy to help Mac. There are some very knowledgeable people on here, it is just a matter of waiting to see who views your post and responds. A lot of information is already here some where, just use the search bar. The Long Long Trail web site helps a lot too. Link at the top of the page in a blue line across the screen. Cheers. Bob.

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Peter, I guess it was a bit of a long shot. Thanks for looking. Much appreciated.

Mac

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22 hours ago, mebu said:

Sorry, I have looked but I have never seen a photo of anything at Tracas.

There's certainly nothing there now.

Peter

Thank you for your help Peter. @CliveMcDonald1while still looking for the web page I cannot find, I came across this which you and others may find interesting. Link;https://archive.org/details/pill-boxes-flanders-image-01/PillBoxesFlandersImage01.jpg  Best wishes, Bob. PS; it is a link to a free book called 'The Pill Boxes of Flanders' by Colonel E G L Thurlow DSO. A recognised site with no rubbish etc attached to it.

Edited by Bob Davies
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Thurlow's "The Pill Boxes of Flanders" book linked above is very interesting and informative however unfortunately it does not go as far north as Poelcappelle/Tracas farm. He also rarely included single structures, writing mainly about those in groups.

Peter

 

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Once again thanks for the help and pointers.

(I was aware of the actions around Triangle Farm but had missed the import of Maison du Hibou)

Just before I put this Poelcappelle study to bed and at the risk of overstaying my welcome here, has anyone of you well versed ladies and/or gentlemen, considered or have views on the attached IWM photo labelled Poelcappelle 1919? Might it be possible to triangulate onto a possible location?

Apologies if this has been previously considered elsewhere on the forum

regards

Mac

Poelcappelle 1919 IWM Q 37124.jpg

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@CliveMcDonald1 , The Western Front Association's TrenchMapper has 62 georeferenced maps covering Tracas Farm.  Disregarding Official History maps, there are two 1917 German maps and an aerial photo as well as numerous British ones.  The aerial is 17 June 1917 and the trench map extract 17 December 1917.

image.png.88d650fe721542e6b631cb720b6b110d.png

image.png.af5b0f867d15f47289f4c9d0b491d7c3.png

 

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Ill admit to a certain confusion. Like you @mebu I assumed the bunker (=pillbox?) was one or more of the three ruins labelled Tracas Fm. However none are marked C, that is, as being “Works reenforced by concrete”. However, the "Hut" to the east is, albeit on the @WhiteStarLine very clear map it is. On the more fuzzy map I have been working off, its status is somewhat more equivocal. I fear looking deeper lest I end up actually going backwards!!!!!

(b.t.w. It comes back to me that some years ago, I invested in the WFA's MAPPING THE FRONT cds but had great difficulty in navigating my way though. Perhaps I ought to go back and persevere!!!)

Tracas Dec 1917.jpg

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6 hours ago, CliveMcDonald1 said:

Once again thanks for the help and pointers.

Hello Mac, there are so many bunkers in and around Poelcappelle it is very difficult to pinpoint the bunkers on the picture you posted from the IWM,  to those on maps. Have you looked at any war diaries of the North Staffs or their brigade diaries to find any maps they may have put in? If not I am willing to have a look, I just need to know the battalion your soldier was in. That will help narrow things down a bit to your date of 2nd December 1917. Regards, Bob. Link to a map here;http://digitalarchive.mcmaster.ca/islandora/object/macrepo%3A71285

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7 hours ago, CliveMcDonald1 said:

However none are marked C, that is, as being “Works reinforced by concrete”.

image.png.846ea3c2c181d64adbb044ac8f66d337.png

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Gentlemen, once again thanks for your assistance.

Some of these map are so clear. It was blinkered of me not to go back and look at some of these earlier maps. I now realise that there was, of course, a tendency for the British map makers to concentrate more on matters behind the German lines which were to be attacked rather than those on our side which we already held!

Thanks too Rob for the offer to sift the various diaries but I have been dabbling in that area somewhat especially since the National Archive  (bless ‘em!) introduced their wonderful COVID moratorium on download payment! I attach my scrubby (indeed barely legible!) list of battalions located in and about Poelcappelle left sub sector running up to the 2nd December. My prime interest is with the 4th North Staffs but their battalion diary is one of the skimpiest on record so I have been delving into the account of the other battalions to see what collateral information I could find.

With this new interest in Tracas Farm I have gone back and found the attached account of actions by the 19th DLI on the 19th  November which confirms what I suspect we were all beginning to conclude, that the Tracas Farm pillbox was indeed that marked at V.21.c.0.6 and not among the ruins of the farm itself.

Actually, while all this is wonderful grist for the mill, I really should apologise for having sent you all on a bit of a wild goose chase. I was directed back to Tracas Farm when I discovered that one of the North Staffs casualties on 2nd December had been originally buried at 20.V.20.d.7.5, which is at the side of the original Tracas Farm buildings. I has assumed that one or more of these had been rebuilt as pillboxes and that, therefore, a photo of the pillbox would be a photo of the burial location . Wrong!

Still I have leaned a lot,  all of it thanks to your combined efforts for which, once more, I thank you.  

1017 11 04 19th DLI.jpg

Poelcapelle Sector 1917 001.jpg

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27 minutes ago, CliveMcDonald1 said:

Tracas Farm pillbox was indeed that marked at V.21.c.0.6 and not among the ruins of the farm itself

An understandable conclusion to have reached and don't forget that the term farm refers to a geographical area, so well within boundaries.

The pillbox 2LT Smith writes about is the structure with the letter 'C' underneath, 180 yards from the farm house itself.  Not much left today, sadly.  Click to enlarge:

image.png.410d04f15d185aa27e5c469f538d9da3.png

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For completeness for anyone following up on Tracas Farm. From the 18th Lancashire Fusilikers diary, 21st November 1917.

1917 11 21 18th Lancs F.jpg

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10 hours ago, CliveMcDonald1 said:

Gentlemen, once again thanks for your assistance.

Thank you Mac for sharing this with us, a very interesting part of history.

 

10 hours ago, WhiteStarLine said:

Not much left today, sadly.

Thank you for your help WhitesStarLine, yes a pity a lot has gone but time moves on.

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