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Remembered Today:

Yser River Bridge Numbers near Diksmuide


Bob Drummond
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Hello, my wife's grandfather served in the 11th Battalion Belgian Army engineers (5th Army Division).  Per the attached letter from the Belgian officer under whom he served, he was promoted to Corporal in October 1917 for his dedication while building (foot)bridges across the Yser River south of Dixmude/Diksmuide, near the place called "La Joconde".  The letter specifies that one of these bridges was bridge number 10 ("pont no. 10") and the other was a footbridge 30 meters downstream of bridge number 2 ("pont no. 2").  The work was performed from 9 - 14 August 1917.

The attached Belgian map shows where Le Boyau de la Joconde ends at her house at the river bank and the attached German map from 1 April 1918 shows several footbridges in that area.  However, I don't know which might have been the two built by my wife's grandfather. Is there a source indicating the Belgian Army's numbering for the Yser River bridges in this area during this time period?

Thank you.

Francois Lecour - letter from Capitaine Van Loo 17-12-1939.pdf

   
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Hi Bob,

That's a nice story and while I don't have the bridge numbers, here are the bridges themselves around Boyau de la Joconde in 1915.  I'm guessing that the single line is a footbridge and the double line for vehicular traffic.  I've seen bridge numbers for other parts of the Yser canal, so hopefully you will find them.

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Thank you very much, indeed. 

I have obtained a copy of a 1928 book by Major Louis Tasnier, "Notes d'Un Combattant de la Campagne 1914-1918".  Major Tasnier was an infantry officer in the same Belgian Army Division as my wife's grandfather, although the latter joined the division on 26 September 1915 after completing basic and engineer training. 

In his chapter titled, "La Joconde", Major Tasnier describes encountering the lady at her house the night of 21 December 1914 as he and other Belgian infantry elements were tasked to cross the Yser to the wooded area on the "presqu'île", which might have been the "almost island" in the middle of the map with the three footbridges connecting to it.  The excellent map that you kindly attached correlates well to Tasnier's story, as he mentions the eventual construction of the Albert redoubt and also an Elizabeth redoubt to the south of the house.   

Again, many thanks!

Bob

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