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I am looking for a trench map from Sheet 28 (1/10,000) J21 A & B. I think it should be just north of the Menin road between the road and Polygon Wood? Any help would be appreciated.

HAMILTON, John Brown. (reg No. 517).

Lance-Corporal. 1st/9th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry.

Gazetted on 26th November, 1917.

Born on 26th August, 1896 at Dunbarton, Scotland.

Died on 23rd July, 1973 at East Kilbride, Scotland.

Memorial not known.

Digest of Citation reads:

On 25th/26th September, 1917 north of the Ypres-Menin Road, Belgium, great difficulty was experienced in keeping the front and support line supplied with small-arms ammunition, owing to the intense artillery fire. At a time when the supply had reached a seriously low level, Lance-Corporal Hamilton on several occasions, on his own initiative, carried bandoliers of ammunition through the enemy fields of fire and then, in full year of their snipers and machine-guns which were lying out in the front our line at close range, he distributed the ammunition.

Also from the 9 HLI diary:

24 September 1917: transit - about 5 miles northeast - from Kruistraathoek to front line near Polygon Wood (about 4 miles due east of Ypres)]

Battalion ready to move forward to relieve 11th West Yorks (one Coy) and 2 Coys of 11th Sherwood Foresters in Front line. Coys ordered to move at 2.30pm at ten minute intervals, A & D moving to first line, B & C 2nd line.

Front line. Reference map Shrewsbury Forest part of sheet 28 1/10,000. Battalion halt at BIRDCAGE HILL on way up to front line for 2 hours and lay in shell holes. Battalion has to pass through heavy hostile barrage from JASPER AVENUE through INVERNESS COPSE to front line in J21 A and B.

Night of 24/9/17. The ground is unrecognisable owing to huge shell holes. But for a regularity of a number of tree stumps the MENIN road is a mass of huge holes. Coys have great difficulty in getting over the ground with guides and some sections are detached for a time. The hostile barrage is still intense. Many units get mixed up and an officer of the 11th SUSSEX finding his way to Bn HQs enables an officer to go out and help to guide sections to their proper places. Ammunition dump for the Brigade is blown up and we have a few casualties trying to locate it. No lines of telephones to front line. Communication entirely by runner. Communication to the rear is by visual and pigeon post.

[25 September 1917: front line at Polygon Wood]

Impossible to get runners beyond support line by day.

About 5.30am hostile barrage renewed and enemy attacks on a front of about 2 miles.

We break up his attack on our front and drive him back with Lewis gun and rifle fire, except on our Right where he gained a footing in the Queens strong point and we lose several men and had several (say 20 captured.)

Enemy aeroplanes were flying very low over our lines co-operating with his attacking troops. None of ours appeared until 8am. Front line was reinforced by part of C Coy and a few men of B Coy. A party from Headquarters managed to get water and rations from JACKDAW DUMP.

[26 September 1917: front line at Polygon Wood]

About 2.30pm the enemy attempted a counter raid. 2 Platoons of our battalion drove this off, followed it up and drove the enemy off his line and occupied. This blow was delivered by 2/Lt Glen. Front line reinforced by the addition of 2/Lt Ancrum’s platoon.

Front line and support line was now well organised and we were able to get supplies and ammunition through the supports to the front until being relieved.



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J21 is just to the west of Gheluveldt and can be seen on this map extract (Sheet 28 NE ed.9A - Brit front 29-11-1917).

CLICK HERE to see the map extract (from the map extracts page of "Paths of Glory")


(there's also an early september dated map of the same area on the second page of trenchmap extracts on the same site)

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