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Chris Noble

Trench Map

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Howard

The reports of his death are somewhat confused but there is a common thread.

Reported locations are I think

Page2      Bull Trench near Flers Wood

Page2      Sausage Gully near Pozieres

Page 3     Cavalry Trench in front of Flers

Page 4     Pioneer Trench

Page 4     N.32.A.4.2

Rats Alley, Peter Chasseaud’s book, has a trench index that I think is the same as that on the McMaster University website (they are his maps on the website). In there the only Bull Trench is dated 1918 and is not near Flers. I cannot find a Cavalry Trench nearby nor an “official” Bull Trench but on the image here is a hand written Bull Road. This (almost) matches with map reference N.32.A.4.2 so it seems likely that it is Bull Road, at least that is “in front of Flers”. The index lists Pioneer Trench also at N.32.a although I have yet to find a map that shows it.

Full size and resolution map here.

 

As for reading map references, I have a page on my website here or a longer one here.

 

I hope that helps.

 

Howard

 

 

 

Flers1.jpg

Edited by Howard

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Howard
3 hours ago, Christine Johnson said:

Thank you for your replies WhiteStarLine and Don Regiano,

I appreciate you taking the time to help me with this.

I need to find a high res image of a map of the place where ES Bisset died, so I am attaching a link to these Red Cross Society accounts - perhaps they will mean more to you - if you have time to examine them we could get more specific.

 https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/awm-media/collection/RCDIG1038269/document/5625937.PDF

I also have some questions about how to read the maps. Could you please explain how to interpret these locations for example?

I saw an aerial shot of the region on this feed from egbert. Does this tally with the trench maps we are looking at?

Best wishes and thank you for answering my questions. 

Christine

 

Map reference N.32.a.4.2 is shown here , it defines a square of 50 yard sides. On a map with trenches corrected to 3/9/1916 this is close to an area of destroyed trenches, shown dotted. If you check on the battalion history you may find that at the time, Bull Road was the support just behind the front line as mentioned on the confused reports of the location of his death. I have not checked in the battalion history so this is a guess!

 

Howard

Flers2.jpg

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WhiteStarLine

Funny, I was just looking at Bulls Road on a September 1916 map when Howard's post came in.  Christine's document clarifies a lot and I am going to go with the Adjutant's map reference as authoritative, as the others mention trench names but he gives a map reference.  Bull's road itself is shown in N.32.d, some 400 metres south:

 

image.png.60b70978b7baf25bbf1967421d327076.png

 

57c.N.32.a.4.2 is as marked by Howard in post #26.  I've read the brigade and battalion unit war diary and checked CEW Bean's Official History and notebooks but they shed no further details.  The current location is:

 

image.png.a6cb639dc15d9bc6a7f9665a634da73f.png

 

 

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Howard

I have now checked more than 30 maps but have failed to improve on the Bulls Road assumption. That area of destroyed trenches merits a longer look, they are shown as solid lines on slightly earlier maps so the date they were destroyed maybe of significance. The very fact that the reports of his death are so confused would match with a period of great activity, heavy shelling etc. I agree with Bill, I would take the Adjutant’s report as being most reliable, the others look like being from memory whilst in hospital etc.

 

Howard

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WhiteStarLine

I finally found all references thanks.  I had forgotten that if the battalion and brigade diaries are sparse, then the divisional staff are normally much better!  Here is the reference from the 4th Division AIF November 1916 diary (https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/awm-media/collection/RCDIG1011325/bundled/RCDIG1011325.pdf):

 

image.png.62bf6e27c222825ad3c54a42fcfab7e2.png

 

The map shows the entire Army front line from November 1916 and sketch map on page 45 shows Bulls Rd in N.32.a, intersecting with Pioneer Trench in N.32.c.  So everything correlates - the Adjutant's reference and Pioneer Trench.  Support Rd and Grease Trench are there.  See the detailed high resolution map on page 45 of https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1349902, but it is a pretty faded map.  Highlighting is mine ...

 

Bill

 

image.png.57f297e0bae7c785fd9490894530368d.png

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Howard

And with a tweak in Photoshop and a full page version here.

 

Good find Bill !

 

Howard

 

 

bullroad.jpg

Edited by Howard

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Don Regiano
9 hours ago, Christine Johnson said:

I saw an aerial shot of the region on this feed from egbert. Does this tally with the trench maps we are looking at?

 

 

 

Christine.

 

The recent posts have, understandably, gravitated to the area to the East of Flers and South of Gueudecourt (large squares 26, 31 and 32).  This is the bottom left quadrant of Egbert's aerial photograph (Flers is in the bottom left corner).  Here's a map (actually it's an amalgam of maps) showing Needle Trench in that area (square 32):

 

image.png.64840d1115a585588c632904720606ff.png

 

Grease Trench, which I referred to earlier and is mentioned in the Australian documents is to the NE of Gueudecourt.

 

Reg

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Christine Johnson
On 27/09/2005 at 11:25, egbert said:

Very unique aerial from 1 Oct 1916; if needed in high resolution email me

post-80-1127784336.jpg

Dear Egbert,

This is the picture I need in high res, the lower left quadrant showing trenches SW of Gueudecourt in Oct/Nov 1916. Please advise if this is possible. Many thanks,

Christine

 

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Christine Johnson
On 16/01/2019 at 21:03, WhiteStarLine said:

Funny, I was just looking at Bulls Road on a September 1916 map when Howard's post came in.  Christine's document clarifies a lot and I am going to go with the Adjutant's map reference as authoritative, as the others mention trench names but he gives a map reference.  Bull's road itself is shown in N.32.d, some 400 metres south:

 

image.png.60b70978b7baf25bbf1967421d327076.png

 

57c.N.32.a.4.2 is as marked by Howard in post #26.  I've read the brigade and battalion unit war diary and checked CEW Bean's Official History and notebooks but they shed no further details.  The current location is:

 

image.png.a6cb639dc15d9bc6a7f9665a634da73f.png

 

 

Dear friends,

You have all been so generous with your time and research! I am very grateful to have all this information which I will pass on to the Bisset family. You may have wondered why you have not heard from me for a while. One of my sons has been very ill and I have had to put this work on hold for a few weeks. My son is improving now and I am back! Thank you for your close and thoughtful examination of records and for the maps. This seems to be as close as we can get to identifying the place of Bisset's death.

I will post news of this project as it nears completion.

Again, many, many thanks.

Sincerely, Christine

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Christine Johnson
On 16/01/2019 at 20:41, Howard said:

The reports of his death are somewhat confused but there is a common thread.

Reported locations are I think

Page2      Bull Trench near Flers Wood

Page2      Sausage Gully near Pozieres

Page 3     Cavalry Trench in front of Flers

Page 4     Pioneer Trench

Page 4     N.32.A.4.2

Rats Alley, Peter Chasseaud’s book, has a trench index that I think is the same as that on the McMaster University website (they are his maps on the website). In there the only Bull Trench is dated 1918 and is not near Flers. I cannot find a Cavalry Trench nearby nor an “official” Bull Trench but on the image here is a hand written Bull Road. This (almost) matches with map reference N.32.A.4.2 so it seems likely that it is Bull Road, at least that is “in front of Flers”. The index lists Pioneer Trench also at N.32.a although I have yet to find a map that shows it.

Full size and resolution map here.

 

As for reading map references, I have a page on my website here or a longer one here.

 

I hope that helps.

 

Howard

 

Dear Howard,

I hope you are well. This map is wonderful in its detail.

I plan to use it as a background layer in the artwork about Eric Bisset. Would you know who owns the rights and how to get permission to use it or who I should credit?

Christine

Flers1.jpg

 

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Howard

The answer to thank may be complicated! I spent 4 years scanning the IWM’s Great War maps, some of these scans are on sale on the WFA Mapping the Front DVDs. On the FAQs on the DVDs, in the FAQs is this Q&A:-

 

Q. May I use any part of the material from this disc in a printed book or publication?

A. No. The material on this disc is intended for personal use only. Those wishing to use this material elsewhere should approach the Imperial War Museum who can arranged the appropriate permission. Such permission is not difficult to obtain. Contact the Licensing Officer, Department of Printed Books.

 

The trouble is, many of the staff at the IWM are not well informed about these scans and if you approach them they may claim to know little or nothing about them.

The reason the collection was scanned was that along with several others, I was a volunteer correcting their map database. After having the maps for 90+ years, their database was shockingly out of date. We scrapped it and started again. It was clear to the volunteers that the museum were not capable of looking after the collection so I arranged to get £6000 from the WFA for a scanner and I used that to scan most of the maps, over 9000 scans. The copyright on the maps themselves no longer exists, that is very clearly established and admitted by the museum, however they claim the copyright of the scanned version despite it having been done by volunteers on hardware provided by a charity!

I might suggest you approach them for permission to publish but do not be too surprised to find they don’t know which item to refer to, I would guess they have lost the database of the items we so carefully created.

If you quote accession number M.5/5085 or the filename on the WFA Mapping the Front DVDs, M_5_005085.jpg, that should (might!) find it. The trouble is I do not think the Department of Printed Books exists anymore and I have lost contact with the museum. A general enquiry may yield results.

As for credit, the WFA, the Western Front Association, funded and managed the whole project so credit should go mainly them although the museum will demand they are credited.

Howard

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