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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Black Horse Bridge over Ancre River


Peter Shand
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Hello Harry,

As a new member of the forum, I have been scouring for information on how to get to Black Horse Bridge after failing to find it with a friend earlier in the year. The information that you have posted looks just the ticket and hopefully next time round I'll have more success when I go back. Curiously enough we got as far as the cemetery in Authuille village but that was about it!

Best

Adrian (East Kent)

Thanks Adrian and if you go through the postings on this thread Paul Reed seems to agree with our findings. If it's good enough for Paul it's certainly good enough for me.

Enjoy your next visit.

We go across in early April to "do" the southern part of the Somme front.

Harry

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Gents

To clear up any speculation, we now have the ability to pinpoint any features accurately.

To that end I post a map over which I have made a mark of the Western Bridge of the two.

It can be made to give the Longitude/Lattitude to an accuracy of about 3-4 m

It's position is: 50°2'20.0"N, 2°39'59.2"E

Any GPS or PDA or indeed IGN map, can be used to confirm this.

Cheers

Guy

Hello Guy

Cartography has never been my forte. Can you please explain the point you're making in a language an idiot can understand. You are not saying, surely, that the site of Black Horse Bridge just behind the cemetery is wrong!!!!!! Adrian is relying on its accuracy.

Harry

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Hello Mick.

It's been a while since we communicated. I hope it is Mick !!!!

Anyway your maps (superb) do confirm that my details of Blackhorse Bridge are correct so Adrian can look forward to his next visit to God's country with eager anticipation.

One point though that you might be able to clear up for me: In Charles Douie's book The Lonely Road he talks as if Black Horse Bridge wasn't just the pontoon spanning the Ancre at Authuille (as shown on your map) but the route on the other side of the bridge that wound its way towards Thiepval as well . This seems to be confirmed on your maps.

How do you read it?

Harry

PS See my point on this somewhere on this thread.

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Hi Harry

To be honest I'm not sure because the maps only show the name of the Road on that one place, but you are quite right the road does continue, both ways. I will dig out some more maps and check it out. I haven't had a chance to take the GPS to that spot yet either so I'm not entirely sure whats on the ground. That will have to wait for a few weeks now.

Mick

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Hi Harry

To be honest I'm not sure because the maps only show the name of the Road on that one place, but you are quite right the road does continue, both ways. I will dig out some more maps and check it out. I haven't had a chance to take the GPS to that spot yet either so I'm not entirely sure whats on the ground. That will have to wait for a few weeks now.

Mick

Thanks Mick.

Harry

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  • 10 years later...

For those who have expressed an  interest in Black Horse Ridge, I attach a campaign map dated 27 May 1916 inherited from my uncle who was a lieutenant serving with the 11th Royal Inniskillin Fusiliers. Interestingly, it shows Authuille some 700 yards from the British Front Line and Black Horse Bridge is to the South of Authuille (bottom LH corner).

This would, I understand, have been during the period leading up to the Battle of the Somme.

 

Several soldiers from the Inniskillings lost their lives near here and are buried in the cemetery next to Authuille church.

 

For the anecdote, Authuille was shelled by the enemy and the church destroyed. In the ruins, passing through with his men, my uncle discovered an alabaster head - all that remained of a statue of the Virgin Mary. So that it would not fall into enemy hands, he took it away in his rucksack. Unfortunately, he was later severely injured and invalided back to England and was thus never able to return the head.  I inherited his war "memorabilia", including the statue's head and, as I live in France, I returned  to Authuille and handed it over to the local curé, l'abbé Thuillier, on 18 Sept 1985 in  a moving ceremony during Sunday Mass that day. It now resides in the (rebuilt) Church with a small plaque bearing his name, as near as possible to its original former place in the destroyed church - based on the recollection of local inhabitants who were children at the time of the War. 

 

I hope this may be of interest.

 

Martin Tunstall

TUNSTALL William John Charles - Authuille - War Map du 27-05-1916.jpg

TUNSTALL William John Charles - retour de la Vierge.jpg

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A very interesting story Martin, just goes to show what can be added to earlier threads. I visit Authuille every year, hopefully next year i can gain access to the church as it would be good to see the plaque, thanks for posting Martin,  Ian.

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  • 1 year later...

Hi Guys,

 

I've read this post and its given me a great deal of information about BHB, which is where a friend's relative was killed on 1/7/1916, but sometimes I need things in layman's terms, just to be sure. Below I've attached a map, is Black Horse Bridge the location marked with the red arrow (so the whole section of Pontoon Bridge beneath Black Horse Road) or the location marked with the blue arrow (the river crossing bridge at the end of Black Horse Road)? Unless I've had a massive brain ****, there has been a disagreement on this thread about which it is. Martin's image suggests its the river crossing section only, at the end of Black Horse Road, with no mention of the pontoon bridge at all, whereas Paul's post from 2007 suggests it is in fact the Pontoon Bridge, and that Black Horse Road and Bridge are separate entities. 

 

If I have managed to confuse things for myself further then I'm happy to be corrected, just want to be sure as I'm handing this info over to a friend. 

 

Kindest regards

Harvey 

PontoonBrdgeisBlackHorse which is it.jpg

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Harvey

 

I think theoretically the Pontoon Bridge was the Black Horse Road and the 'Bridge' was really just the bridge over the river itself. The attached trench map is from August 1916 and shows the Black Horse Road and the bridge clearly over the river. On the equivalent map from September 1916 the 'Black Horse Road' designation has been replaced by 'Pontoon Bridge' as on your map.

 

Of course for your purposes it possibly doesn't matter what a map says - anyone writing up a war diary or account may well have referred to the whole lot as the Black Horse Road Bridge whether they were on the Pontoon Bridge or the actual Bridge (or both). I don't know the account that details where your man was killed but if the whole Company was there I doubt some 180-200 men would have been crowding together on the actual bridge - they would have been spread out.

 

984859493_BlackHorseRoadBridge.png.8e916ca5aab476e94c8b58a7d060bfa6.png

 

Edit: Actually - ignore me! Looking at your map again they have put in a new track on a slightly different line to the original Black Horse Road. The Pontoon Bridge then goes from the end of that new track (where it goes from a dotted line to a solid line) AND across the river at the site of the original bridge .

 

Neil

Edited by Neil Mackenzie
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Harvey, I may have missed something ...

 

On 31 August I posted a trench map extract with Black Horse Bridge written on it in another thread you posted in.  I gave you the latitude and longitude and an extract.  You thanked me on 1 September.  

image.png.649192deaf46fd5b3d35362cda26e98d.png

 

It is your blue arrow in your recent post on this thread and is well clear of the pontoon bridge.  Just as Neil says (on this thread) and in his comment on your other thread.

 

image.png.23db8f5b0d9a5a77846bb9a432ba26ae.png

 

 

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