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Remembered Today:

Some Desperate Glory - Trench Map


MDPMicahDominicParsons

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have been reading 'Some Desperate Glory' by Edwin Campion Vaughan and I have taken a particular interest in the following passage. 
 

on Thursday 18th January 1917 he notes that "Two new arrivals - officers attached from the 7th Worcesters - today joined our company. Their names are Watkins and Thomas and my first impression of them was quite favourable". These officers appear to be 2nd Lieutenant Turner and 2nd Lieutenant Watkins from The 1/8th Battalion, The Worcester Regiment who actually joined the battalion on Thursday 25th January 1917. It is noted in the battalion war diary that 2nd Lieutenant E.S. Vaughan joined the battalion on Wednesday 16th January 1917 (which seems to be correct when comparing this to his book).

 

The first aspect that I have been researching is his approximate journey to the front line whilst on a working party.

 

On Saturday 3rd February 1917, Vaughan states;“At 6 p.m. Thomas and I set out with the company to carry the rations up to the line. This time we went straight up the road leading through Herbecourt. We had passed through the village and were descending the further slope, where all was dead quiet and peaceful, so that as I walked beside Thomas I had no qualms of fear, when he said in a low voice, ‘if they start shelling, we will have to split u. You take the front two platoons onto the fields on the right and I will take the remainder onto the left’”. 

 

The second thing I have been researching is his first tour of duty of the front line in Biaches.

 

Vaughan later describes his first experience of visiting the posts on Wednesday 14th February 1917 “The night was perfectly quiet, and we picked our squelchy way after Bell along the trench to the right. After ten or twelve yards we turned to the right, ducking under a trench board, and came to the first post. Here, with his head above the parapet, stood private Newey, perfectly motionless. He answered out whispered questions without turning his head, and we stood beside him for a few moments peering into the darkness. Nothing could be seen or heard and we stepped down and talked to Corporal Bobby Wood who was in charge of the post. He showed us his shelter, a bare hole scooped out of the side of the trench; his six men were in a tiny shelter on one side”. 

 

“Leaving them to their watch we passed on to the Lewis gun post some dozen yeads away. Here Corporal McKay, who was smoking his little pipe upside down, greeted us very cheerily and seemed quite happy. His gun was pushed forward down a little sap, along which we crept quietly to where the gunners were lying face downwards under a belt of wire, with their eyes glued on the faint outline of the ground in front. We could not talk so we returned to the trench”. 

 

“The remainder of the line was very irregular and the posts seemed to be firing in different directions. At the end of our sector on the left, a communication trench ran back to the rear, and a little way down was a nice big shelter in which Sergeant Allsop and one of two men of 14 platoon were sleeping. Close to our third post were two trees, one of which stripped and shattered by a shell, was still standing; the other was cut in half and hung down across the trench like an arch. Under this ran a shallow trench which was a short cut back to our HQ. This trench we took, walking in the open for nearly 50 years, which I though a highly dangerous proceeding”.

 

I was wondering if anyone would be able to help me confirm the route which I have plotted to the front?

 

 

 

On Thursday 15th February 1917, Vaughan talks about the grizzly task of burying the dead "As I turned to re-enter the dugout, he said 'There's a job for you tonight,' and he pointed out a cluster of corpses three or four years behind the parados. Lying flat on their backs, with marble faces rigid and calm, their khaki lightly covered with frost, some with no wound visible, some with blood clotted on their clothes, one with a perfectly black face, they lay at attention staring up into the heavens. This was my first sight of dead en and I was surprised that it did not upset me. Only the one with the black face has stayed with me. The thick, slightly curled lips, fleshy aquiline nose, cap-comforter pulled well down over his head and the big glassy eyes have become stamped on my brain". 

"When my tour of duty came round, I drew one or two men from the posts and went out to bury the bodies. It was very dark and we had to feel about to find them. When we tried to dig, we found the ground so hard that we could not get a pick into it. According to orders, also, we tried to take off their boots and equipment, but it was not very pleasant pulling frozen corpses about, so we decided that the country could afford to pay for that equipment, and we ended by covering them with old blankets, and piling the corners with stones, until the ground should be soft enough to bury them. 

A few weeks later on Sunday 11th March 1917, Edwin Campion Vaughan makes the following statement "Whilst we were eating, the pioneer sergeant bought in some crosses that he had made for the men whom I had covered with blankets and whom were no buried and when I went to the front line Dunham carried them along". 

Men killed from this battalion between 01/02/1917 to 15/02/1917 were as follows;

Kiboko Wood Cemetery and finally Assevillers New British Cemetery:

. Private F.H. Wells (20723) (04/02/1917).

. Corporal G.E. Williamson (1630) (04/02/1917).

. Private A.T. Jennings (306465) (04/02/1917).

. Corporal John Hodgetts (20993) (04/02/1917).

. Private F. Greening (306462) (04/02/1917).

. Private T. Parkinson (20370) (04/02/1917).

. Private J.G. Baker (20875) (04/02/1917).

. Lance Corporal P. Holey (305481) (09/02/1917).
Thiepval Memorial to The Missing:

. Private William James Bristow (4969) (02/02/1917).

. Private David Mansell (20897) (04/02/1917)

Eclusier Communal Cemetery;

. Private A. Potter (306847) (15/02/1917)

 

The 1/8th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, first went into the line between 01/02/1917 and was relieved by The 1/7th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment on 05/02/1917, the battalion had suffered 10 men killed in action and 13 men wounded in action (one of which seems to have died of their wounds).

On 10/02/1917, the battalion relieved The 1/7th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The 1/7th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment suffered the following casualties between the period 01/02/1917 to 15/02/1917).

 

Assevillers New British Cemetery:

. Private J. Cartwright (20451) (04/02/1917).

Eclusier Communal Cemetery:

. Private W.S. Finch (6575) (03/02/1917).

Bray Military Cemetery:

. Private Charles Coleman (267709) (15/02/1917).

 

I wondered if any of the above men could have been the ones buried by 2nd Lieutenant Edwin Campion Vaughan?

 

It seems that The 1/8th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment always relieved The 1/7th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment and visa versa and the same was so for The 1/6th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment relieving The 1/5th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment (the battalions for the two months that they are in Biaches always occupy the same positions apart from a slight shift in boundary to the right for the brigade front which took place on the ngith of 11/02/1917 and 12/02/1917).

For the period 16/02/1917 to 12/03/1917, The 1/8th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment lose the following men.

 

Assevillers New British Cemetery:

. Private Albert Hollyoake (306755) (23/02/1917).

 

 

For the period 16/02/1917 to 12/03/1917, The 1/7th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment loses the following men.

 

Assevillers New British Cemetery:

. Private G.H. Chatterway (268224) (02/03/1917)

. Private G.E.F. Jean (268201) ((02/03/1917)

. Private O. Miller (266791) (02/03/1917)

. Private Martin Philpott (265973) (03/03/1917).

Eclusier Communal Cemetery:
. Private J. Boon (266880) (12/03/1917).

Bray Military Cemetery:

. Lance Corproal J. Gee (268526) (04/03/1917).

. Private John James Waring (266460) (07/03/1917).

. Private Thomas Joseph Nash (266921) (07/03/1917).

Estaples Military Cemetery: 

. Private P.J. Smith (265402) (07/03/1917).

 

In around 2008, a new house was being built in Biaches and three British soldiers were discovered in this area. They were identified by their boots and later buried in Peronne Communcal Cemetery. I was wondering if anyone had any more information on these burials?

 

2nd Lieutenant Edwin Campion Vaughan reports that on the night of Monday 12th March 1917 and Tuesday 13th March 1917 that, "Corporal Bennett was in command, and he appeared to have through windup. when I had spoken a few words to them and was moving in down the trench, he came after me and asked if he could be relievedas he had lost his nerve. He was shaking in fear and I felt very sorry for him, but knowing that he would have to stick it, and that if I showed any clemancy the rot would spread, I told him that he was to return to his post at once, and set an example to his men instead of creeping away to ask to be allowed to run away from danger. This steadied him up, and he lost his nervous trembling. Pulling himself together he appologised in a firm voice, saying that he could not understand why he had cracked up then, as he had been in much hotter places without turning a hair. I told him not to worry and went on to post no. 4".

 

"Going into the cellar after stand-down, I found Holmes making out a casualty report. When we had reached no. 3 post, he had found Corporal Bennet dead, with three men; the other three men of the post were wounded. A few moments after I had left them a bomb had fallen amongst them".

 

"The night too was very much quieter although another bomb fell in no. 3 post killing one and wounding two".

"During the tour I buried the casualties of the last night, in shell holes behind the post where they were killed".

 

The war diary of The 1/8th Battlion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment reports that on Tuesday 13th March 1917 that four men were killed which included two sergeants and two corporals from D Company and one corporal from A Company was wounded.

 

I believe the men killed in this action may have been as follows;

 

Assevillers New British Cemetery:

. Corporal P. Everitt (305684) - exhumed from 62C.H.35.B.9.9.

. Sergeant T. Phillips (305169) - exhumed from  62C.H.35.B.9.9.

. Corporal Henry Hollins (305783) - exhumed 62C.H.35.9.9.

Thiepval Memorial to The Missing:

. Lance Sergeant Alfred Henry Bennett (305681) (at 22 years of age).

 

I was wondering if anyone had any tips for helping to to locate any probably locations of where post no. 5 was in Biaches?

 

 

Best Wishes,

 

Micah Dominic Parsons

IMG_4962.png

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Hello everyone,

In the very near future, I am hoping to visit the Biaches area and walk the route which the men of The 143rd Infantry Brigade would have taken to the front line during the period January 1917 to March 1917.

I have been reading 'Some Desperate Glory' by Edwin Campion Vaughan and I have been able to use his account to piece together a route to the front line. 

On Saturday 3rd February 1917, Vaughan states;“At 6 p.m. Thomas and I set out with the company to carry the rations up to the line. This time we went straight up the road leading through Herbecourt. We had passed through the village and were descending the further slope, where all was dead quiet and peaceful, so that as I walked beside Thomas I had no qualms of fear, when he said in a low voice, ‘if they start shelling, we will have to split up. You take the front two platoons onto the fields on the right and I will take the remainder onto the left’”. 

Vaughan later describes his first experience of visiting the posts on Wednesday 14th February 1917 “The night was perfectly quiet, and we picked our squelchy way after Bell along the trench to the right. After ten or twelve yards we turned to the right, ducking under a trench board, and came to the first post. Here, with his head above the parapet, stood private Newey, perfectly motionless. He answered out whispered questions without turning his head, and we stood beside him for a few moments peering into the darkness. Nothing could be seen or heard and we stepped down and talked to Corporal Bobby Wood who was in charge of the post. He showed us his shelter, a bare hole scooped out of the side of the trench; his six men were in a tiny shelter on one side”. 

“Leaving them to their watch we passed on to the Lewis gun post some dozen yeads away. Here Corporal McKay, who was smoking his little pipe upside down, greeted us very cheerily and seemed quite happy. His gun was pushed forward down a little sap, along which we crept quietly to where the gunners were lying face downwards under a belt of wire, with their eyes glued on the faint outline of the ground in front. We could not talk so we returned to the trench”. 

“The remainder of the line was very irregular and the posts seemed to be firing in different directions. At the end of our sector on the left, a communication trench ran back to the rear, and a little way down was a nice big shelter in which Sergeant Allsop and one of two men of 14 platoon were sleeping. Close to our third post were two trees, one of which stripped and shattered by a shell, was still standing; the other was cut in half and hung down across the trench like an arch. Under this ran a shallow trench which was a short cut back to our HQ. This trench we took, walking in the open for nearly 50 years, which I thought a highly dangerous proceeding”.

I have managed to plot the route to the frontline but does anyone have any suggestions as to a route which would have been taken from Warwick Dump to the frontline?

Best Wishes,

Micah Dominic Parsons

IMG_4962.png

RWR%20BIACHES%20FEB%201917_ARTWORK.pdf MP_SINGLE%20MAPS_RAID.pdf

Hello everyone,

Please see the attached map.

Best Wishes,

Micah Dominic Parsons

MP_SINGLE%20MAPS_BIACHES.pdf

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  • Admin

Would the war diary elaborate wonder? Have you looked there? 

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Hello Michelle,

I have looked through all the war diaries but there are no further hints I’m afraid that I can see!

Best Wishes,

Micah Dominic Parsons

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Hello everyone,

I have been reading ‘Some Desperate Glory’ and I’ve become quite intrigued with all the little references which are included in this book.

 

One story really caught my attention and it’s got me digging and I’ve found a map related to this area and I was wondering if anyone could help me clarify the following statement with the map?
 

2nd Lieutenant Edwin Campion Vaughan reports that on the night of Monday 12th March 1917 and Tuesday 13th March 1917 that, "Corporal Bennett was in command, and he appeared to have through windup. when I had spoken a few words to them and was moving in down the trench, he came after me and asked if he could be relievedas he had lost his nerve. He was shaking in fear and I felt very sorry for him, but knowing that he would have to stick it, and that if I showed any clemancy the rot would spread, I told him that he was to return to his post at once, and set an example to his men instead of creeping away to ask to be allowed to run away from danger. This steadied him up, and he lost his nervous trembling. Pulling himself together he appologised in a firm voice, saying that he could not understand why he had cracked up then, as he had been in much hotter places without turning a hair. I told him not to worry and went on to post no. 4".

 

"Going into the cellar after stand-down, I found Holmes making out a casualty report. When we had reached no. 3 post, he had found Corporal Bennet dead, with three men; the other three men of the post were wounded. A few moments after I had left them a bomb had fallen amongst them".

 

"The night too was very much quieter although another bomb fell in no. 3 post killing one and wounding two".

"During the tour I buried the casualties of the last night, in shell holes behind the post where they were killed".

 

The war diary of The 1/8th Battlion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment reports that on Tuesday 13th March 1917 that four men were killed which included two sergeants and two corporals from D Company and one corporal from A Company was wounded.

 

I believe the men killed in this action may have been as follows;

 

Assevillers New British Cemetery:

. Corporal P. Everitt (305684) - exhumed from 62C.H.35.B.9.9.

. Sergeant T. Phillips (305169) - exhumed from  62C.H.35.B.9.9.

. Corporal Henry Hollins (305783) - exhumed 62C.H.35.9.9.

Thiepval Memorial to The Missing:

. Lance Sergeant Alfred Henry Bennett (305681) (at 22 years of age).

 

I was wondering if anyone had any tips for helping to to locate any probably locations of where post no. 5 was in Biaches?

Best Wishes,

Micah Dominic Parsons

IMG_4963.jpeg

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I would have thought primarily on hard surface. Obviously this late in the war, much damage and road surfaces could have been done away with.

Taking the route with cover from banking or lower tracks but, as many of the fields that would have provided cover could well be amalgamated with other fields now you will probably never know. Plot A and B points, then using google maps or similar keep to the sides of current fields to avoid upsetting the farmers.

If you can find a trench map around the time there may be a hint there.

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We have a lot of maps of that area on TrenchMapper so you may like to have a look. I searched for just Biaches and found over 190.

You will need to zoom to get some to show.

You example is not a standard trench map and its base look quite old. It may be hand drawn, hard to tell for sure.

Howard

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Posted (edited)

Hello everyone,

I was wondering if anyone could help me line this map up with the trench maps located around La Maisonnette?

Best Wishes,

Micah Dominic Parsons

 

Micah 5.jpeg

Edited by MDPMicahDominicParsons
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Hi Micah, you have recently opened around 5 - 6 threads essentially dealing with La Maisonette / Biaches / Peronne.  On one of yours I checked every map on TrenchMapper for Post No 5 and by the time I had concluded it wasn't shown on any of them, you had opened another thread on it.

This image comes up as all black, but if you can combine a few threads, I am happy to help.  I recognised a few places in your IWM video and there are other forum members with an interest in that area I could tag.

Can you ask the moderators to merge some threads?

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  • kenf48 changed the title to Some Desperate Glory - Trench Map

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