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Remembered Today:

Cochrane Alley - where?


J T Gray

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I've received an email today from another Bakers Pal that has set off a cascade of discoveries about one of my relations killed in WW1. It looks as though he was killed at Cochrane Alley, which is probably southwest of Trones Wood near Maltz Horn Farm, on August 18th 1916.

I know vaguely where Trones Wood was, but the only maps I have are very poor quality.

Can anyone out there give me a better idea of the location, and perhaps of the fighting in that area at that time?

Thanks,

Adrian

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I've received an email today from another Bakers Pal that has set off a cascade of discoveries about one of my relations killed in WW1. It looks as though he was killed at Cochrane Alley, which is probably southwest of Trones Wood near Maltz Horn Farm, on August 18th 1916.

I know vaguely where Trones Wood was, but the only maps I have are very poor quality.

Can anyone out there give me a better idea of the location, and perhaps of the fighting in that area at that time?

Thanks,

Adrian

Cochrane Alley was approx 400m to the east of Malz Horn Farm which is about the halfway point of this map extract (roughly on the fold).

D.

post-7911-1134676504.jpg

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Guest Chris Witcomb

'D' and Adrian

I've also been tracing my great grandfather and 'D', and others have been extremely helpful.......william allen died here on 19th August 1916 with 2nd Batt Suffolks...and I now know where and roughly what the action was....AND I now have a map of the area....Thank you.

I'd also love to know more detail about the fighting here....like you, around 18th / 19th August 1916.

Chris

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Chris,

I've pointed the chap who helped me in the direction of this thread - if he hasn't been in touch hopefully he'll help. If you PM me over the weekend I'll send what little I've got - probably much the same as you have!

Small world!

Adrian

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Hi Chris,

As Adrian says, I managed to track down the action in which his relative was killed...

The regimental history states, "That evening one company (it doesn't state which) was sent up to support an attack by the 10th RWF, which took place in the early hours of the 18th; but owing to the intense darkness, and to the fact that the assembly tapes had been carried away by shell-fire, there was some confusion and the attack failed." The attack was near Cochrane Ally which, I think, is southwest of Trones Wood near Maltz Horn Farm.

This one-company action presumably accounted for the death of Henry Bewers.

The account continues, "During the afternoon the 1st Gordon Highlanders and other troops carried out another attack. To make room, two Suffolk companies moved out of the line, the other two in Cochrane Alley supporting the attack by fire. This attempt was more successful than the previous ones, partly no doubt because the enemy had been hard pressed for several days and his resistance was weakening."

"The Suffolk companies had carried out their allotted tasks so successfully that in the evening the Germans turned a battery of five-nines on to Cochrane Alley, creating great havoc for an hour or more. During the night these two companies were relieved, the battalion reassembling at Talus Bois and marching back to Happy Valley the next evening, having sustained 281 casualties..."

It looks like William Allen may well have been killed in the relief?

I hope this is useful. I'm still amazed that two Forum members I have been corresponding with turn out to have had relatives killed within hours of one another in the same action!

Cheers,

Taff

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Guest Chris Witcomb

Taff / Adrian

Many thanks. I think I'm staisfied that the family now know where he died. A visit to the area next year is in order.

Shame I can't find a photo.........

Thanks again

Chris

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There is nothing of Cochrane's Alley to see. There is just a field and you stand there with your trench map wondering if you are in the right place.

Been there, tried that! I've got a trench map somewhere to which I added the grid references for Cochrane's Alley. I'll see if I can find it.

Ken

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Thank you all very much for the assistance. Given how close to Guillemont it is I will have to dig out the relevant pages from "Storm of Steel" to get a flavour from the other side as well. I've been a Pal for a year and a half now, and reached the heights of Old Sweatiness, and I'm still astounded at how much knowledge is out there and being freely shared. :D

Taff, that's nothing to be amazed at. When I went to the PRO (as was) to look up William Bewers service record I found the document already in use - someone else was looking for him that day as well!

ADrian

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Junger was there five days later, and approximately (if his description is correct) where "Pit Alley" is marked on Egbert's map. It's a pretty graphic and gruesome tale.

He lived to 102. Meanwhile Henry Bewers was disappearing into the mud a few hundred yards away. The vagaries of fate... And yet I'd know nothing about him if he hadn't died. I do find that strange and rather poignant.

Adrian

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