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Guest Chris Witcomb

Maltz Horn Farm, Trones Wood - August 1916

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CROONAERT

Here's a French trench map extract from September 1916 showing the full length...

Dave

...highlighted in green...

post-357-0-30555100-1459254766_thumb.jpg

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CROONAERT

This July (9th) dated French trench map appears to have the (?) August 1916 German frontline hand-annotated in blue pencil. 'Lonely Trench' would be the top bit of this annotation...

Dave

post-357-0-45239800-1459255010_thumb.jpg

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Robin V

Croonaert

You are a true Gent, and a national treasure.

It would appear to be not far from the site of Maltz Horn Farm itself.

Thank You Sir.

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Don Regiano

Robin.

When you visit you might want to check to see if the grenade is still at the side of the road heading past Maltz Horn towards Hardecourt. As you go downhill there is an area to the left of the road where the farmer dumps his rubbish. I spotted this grenade (I believe it is French) just lying there - so be careful!

post-41609-0-20003900-1463959911_thumb.j

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Robin V

After all your help, I thought I should give you all a report on mine and my Wife's August visit to the Somme.

Maltz Horn Farm Trench was very easy to find. The line of it is easy to make out, and in certain places, the bank and parapet remains to this day.

Trying to find Lonely Trench was more difficult. It lies in ploughed ground.
I had a French translation of 'My Grandfather was wounded on this spot 100 years ago today' as a text message on my phone, in case of difficulty.
I was approached by a Farmer who could hardly speak a word of English, but when I showed him my text, he was very understanding. I pointed to my watch telling him 'Five hours from now' He understood. He took my map from me, and showed me a depression through the stubble, then pointed to a now non existing road on the map , which lies immediately behind Lonely Trench. So with his help in showing me the line of the road, I could locate the approximate line of Lonely Trench.

In his very broken English, he told me both his Grand Fathers had fought in the Great War. He left in his Tractor, only to return a short time later in his 4x4. He presented Rita with a British Uniform Button, and presented me with the remains of a trenching tool and the very rusty remains of what could be my Grandads Rifle. I doubt very much that he will have picked up his SMLE as he crawled back to the British Lines.

I offered to make a donation to an Agricultural Charity. He, not understanding English and me certainly not speaking French was making things very difficult. After both of us had tried several 'Franglais' sounding words, we came to the words 'Militaire Beneficiare'. So I'll be donating to the Legion again. Is there also a French Equivalent?

At 21:57 hrs on the 17th August, I was in position at the taped assembly line in front of Maltz Horn Farm Trench, and at the time of the attack 22:00 hrs, I walked the route through No Mans Land, that Grandad and the rest of the 10th Royal Welsh Fusiliers took on that night 100 years ago. I almost broke down when I heard a church clock strike 10:00 pm. Would those boys have heard the same, 100 years ago? It was very tearful and eerie walk.

The rest of the week was spent leisurely taking hundreds of photos of Picardy Battle Grounds, Cemeteries, and Grandads areas of deployment on the Somme, especially Delville, prior to the 17th August.

My research has really set the ball rolling. We will be going again. It's absolutely fascinating.

 

Rita and I, Maltz Horn Farm

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The parapet at the lower end of Malz Horn Farm Trench

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Mills Bomb on the Guillemont to Hardecourt Road

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Grandads SMLE?

large_41.JPG

 

Lonely Trench

large_60.JPG

 

 

The Maltz Horn Trench area that the 10th RWF attacked from.

large_63.JPG

 

 

Half an hour before the 100 year anniversary of the 17th August attack on Lonely Trench

large_71.JPG

Edited by Robin V
Insert photo's

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Paddy 60th

Very evocative pictures Robin. Of particular interest to me as my grandfather's cousin, Lt. Arthur Towers Lunt 13th Bn. Kings Liverpool Regt.  was fatally wounded around the same location on either the 16th or 17th August 1918.

Roger

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Neil Mackenzie

Great pictures Robin.

 

Neil

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Paddy 60th
On 25/09/2016 at 18:02, Paddy 60th said:

Very evocative pictures Robin. Of particular interest to me as my grandfather's cousin, Lt. Arthur Towers Lunt 13th Bn. Kings Liverpool Regt.  was fatally wounded around the same location on either the 16th or 17th August 1918.

Roger

I got the year wrong - it was 1916 !

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trenchtrotter

Robin, simply superb pictures and a very rewarding trip.

 

What this forum is all about. well done.

 

TT

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Robin V

I couldn't have planned our trip, or carried it out without the help and information given by members of this forum. Thanks, to all of you.

Edited by Robin V
Typo

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KIRKY

Great story Robin, glad you made the trip.

Tony

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Fattyowls

Looks like an excellent trip Robin with some very evocative photographs; one of my footballers was killed very close to where you were standing so they have real resonance. Thanks for posting.

 

Pete.

 

 

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Don Regiano

Was that an Evertonian Pete and where was he killed?

 

Reg

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Fattyowls
12 hours ago, Don Regiano said:

Was that an Evertonian Pete and where was he killed?

 

Reg

 

He was Reg, but not of the Everton of Walton on Merseyside. Lt. Frank Boundy MC was one of the founders of the Everton who now play in Vina del Mar in Chile, he was born in Valparaiso where his Cornish born father was working as an engineer. He died of wounds on 30th July, his battalion was the 17th King's Liverpool, although he was with the 89th Brigade Trench Mortar battery at the time. I strongly suspect that he was buried in the shell hole where he died. His body was recovered in 1919 and if I have translated the map reference in the burial register of Guillemont Road correctly; he was found at 50.0038 N, 2.8180 E. Another founder member of the Chilean Everton, 2nd Lt. Malcolm Fraser was killed on 1st July in front of Ovillers, but his body was lost and he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial. 

 

That I know so much about Frank is thanks to Ken Lees' excellent research on him which he was good enough to share with me; I hope one day soon to follow Robin's example and find the exact spot.

 

Pete.

 

P.S. I hope also to buy Ken a beer or two in thanks.

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Don Regiano

OK Pete - thanks for that info on the connection.  Yes, I think your coordinates for the concentration are spot on.  A couple of years ago I found a large piece of shell lying at the southern edge of the field opposite the cemetery (or it could have been the next field down) not far from that spot - just a few minutes before spotting the grenade I photographed in post #29 above.  Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos of the area.  I hope to be near there again very shortly so will see if I can rectify the omission.

 

Reg

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robertwilcock58

Great pics Robin. I am staying at the Barnafay B&B (converted train station in the wood) in March next year and will be walking all over that area where I possibly can following my grandfather's movements in July/Aug 1916 with the 17th Lancashire Fusiliers. Any tips or places to view will be welcome as it is my first trip.

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Dan Crowe

Good evening all,

My Great uncle Wilfred Edwin Crowe  of the Cheshire Bantam Regiment was killed on the 27th July 1916 at or around Maltzhorn. His body was not recovered and he is remembered at the Thiepval Memorial.

I’ve only just started researching my family during the Great War but my uncle has given me a good head start with work he has done in the past.

The information he has given me includes an extract from the War diary as follows- 

 

“27th July 1916  15th (s) Batt Cheshire Reg

Maltzhorn; General Bombardment on both sides lasted from 7.30 am to 7pm when there was a lull.

one shell found its way into a box of Stokes Bombs which on explosion killed and buried several men and severely shaking two officers.

Guillemont and Ginchy shelled by us and Longueval- Waterlot Farm, Trones wood and Delville wood by the enemy.”

 

Would it be possible to narrow down Wilfred’s final resting place to a named trench?

Google searches have led me to this post and like Robins moving account of his search for his Grandfather I hope to be able to find Wilfred’s final resting place as near as possible 

I’m making a visit to France and Belgium shortly and would dearly like pay my respects

 

 

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WhiteStarLine

Hi Dan and welcome to the forum.

 

With a bit of luck, someone who has done this will assist.  To help you plan your trip, here is an overview map and below a more detailed trench map from September 1916.  See if you can pick any known trench names from the unit war diary.  Failing that, if you find a map reference such as 57c.T.19.c, post it and we can convert it for you to give an exact location.

 

For anyone else searching, Dan refers to image.png.5a9a31b2edf481ec142b546c646ff283.png.

 

image.png.a316f9a013c97fde188471abd0174548.png

 

image.png.1da869bdb42fe8e9cffc4ac10dbc58fc.png

 

[Image credits National Library of Scotland, McMaster University, tMapper (alpha)]

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keithfazzani

This is the site of Malzhorn Farm today marked by this crucifix

CDF817DB-C36C-4B75-A0E1-9EC923B2BCDF.jpeg

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Dan Crowe

Thank you both for the information. Yes, there may be further clues in the War diary. I only have an extract from it so will have a search. 

 

 

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Dan Crowe

Well we made the visit to France and the Maltzhorn memorial. We also visited the graves of two more of my great uncles which I think deserves a separate post on the visiting battlefields section.

We placed a small cross and stayed for about an hour having some lunch in the campervan.

knowing that Wilfred was somewhere nearby was a strange feeling that’s hard to explain. 

The field to the left of the memorial was in stubble so I did take a stroll over it.

I now have a stronger urge to find where he fell and have been scouring the War diary of 15th Cheshire Regt.

For the 27th August at Matzhorn trench It records the positions of four companies W,Y,X, & Z. 

I don’t know which Coy Wilfred was in but it records that Y & W Coys suffered heavily owing to them occupying old German trenches ?

The record of the German shell landing in a box of stokes bombs, killing and burying several men points towards the heavy losses of Y& W Coys.

The other men killed that day were Private Archibald Victor Bate # 19121

Horace Bearnard Branscome # 19039

Harold Rushton # 19113

A/Cpl George Carter # 19641

Private WJ Green 19966 died of wounds the same day.

 

It would make sense that these men were the several killed in the stokes bomb incident. Can anyone help me find out what Company these men were in ? 

If they were in an old German trench maybe this could be narrowed down ?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

 

04E4CEC0-F207-49B5-92DF-66E42E37B5E2.jpeg

7CE37CF3-4457-4A6C-89D3-0316EDED235A.jpeg

DDEBA50A-D84A-4243-907F-B943CB9B1E12.jpeg

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Ghazala

This is a fascinating thread.  Thanks.

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Dan Crowe

I should have added that W was right Centre Coy

Y was Left Centre holding also Arrow head copse

 

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