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Neuve Chapelle – East Surrey Regiment – March 1915


corcam

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Hi

I am afraid I am only an amateur at all this but I am trying to establish a little more about this battle. I have the 2nd Battalion East Surrey Regiment War Diary for the fourteen days that my Great Uncle was in WW1. Anyway on the day of the battle 12th March it says

It was arranged that 7th Brigade would attack Spanbroek Molen at 8.40am but owing to mist it was postponed until 4.15pm. E1 trench was heavily shelled by our own artillery, causing many casualties. The attack was not successful” – it then lists some officers that were lost and the number of wounded and then states 7 men missing.

I presume this means that trench E1 was actually fired on by our own men, was this a usual occurance?

Also is there anyway of finding out exactly where trench E1 was? From previous postings I now realise that my Great Uncle’s body was found (I have the ID tag) but he is now in an unmarked grave or buried near the trenches so it would be nice to know exactly where this would have been.

I can see a visit to Neuve Chapelle may be on the cards!!

Best wishes

Corcam

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He didn't die at Neuve Chapelle, but at a place you mention in the diary extract - Spanbroekmolen in the Ypres Salient in Belgium. It is close to the village of Wytschaete ('Whitesheet'). 1st East Surreys attacked there at this time - the same time the battle was taking place further south in France at Neuve-Chapelle. I am presuming he is commemorated on the Menin Gate?

There is a map of this area in my book 'Walking The Salient'.

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Hi

I am afraid I am only an amateur at all this but I am trying to establish a little more about this battle. I have the 2nd Battalion East Surrey Regiment War Diary for the fourteen days that my Great Uncle was in WW1. Anyway on the day of the battle 12th March it says

It was arranged that 7th Brigade would attack Spanbroek Molen at 8.40am but owing to mist it was postponed until 4.15pm. E1 trench was heavily shelled by our own artillery, causing many casualties. The attack was not successful” – it then lists some officers that were lost and the number of wounded and then states 7 men missing.

I presume this means that trench E1 was actually fired on by our own men, was this a usual occurance?

Also is there anyway of finding out exactly where trench E1 was? From previous postings I now realise that my Great Uncle’s body was found (I have the ID tag) but he is now in an unmarked grave or buried near the trenches so it would be nice to know exactly where this would have been.

I can see a visit to Neuve Chapelle may be on the cards!!

Best wishes

Corcam

I think you have the wrong Neuve. I have them at Neuve Eglise (Nieuwkereke) on 12th March. The SpanbroekMolen is near Whitesheet in belgium . Which memorial is he named on? - Ploegsteert.

if it is Neuve eglise I can did a map out.

stevem

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I presume this means that trench E1 was actually fired on by our own men, was this a usual occurance?
Corcam, it wasn't usual but sadly it did happen. I have read of occasions where enemy shelling was mistaken for friendly fire but generally it was easy to tell the difference.

Robert

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The other name on the War Diary is Lindenhoek - the entry into Marquis de Ruvigny' s Roll of Honour says went to France 2-3-1915 and was killed at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle on the 12th - so I was working with this, but I do know that records can be wrong although the family were told he died in the Battle of Neuve Chapple.

He is commemorated on the Menin gate and this did confuse me.

I have the war diary from the National Archives as a pdf file. Is it within their copyright to upload here so someone can have a look?

Regards

Corcam

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As I mentioned above he did not die in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, but in a minor operation at Spanbroekmolen. That is why he is commemorated on the Menin Gate. Trench E1 was close to Spanbroekmolen.

Lindenhoek is a small hamlet near Kemmel, and was behind our lines at the time.

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The other name on the War Diary is Lindenhoek - the entry into Marquis de Ruvigny' s Roll of Honour says went to France 2-3-1915 and was killed at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle on the 12th - so I was working with this, but I do know that records can be wrong although the family were told he died in the Battle of Neuve Chapple.

He is commemorated on the Menin gate and this did confuse me.

I have the war diary from the National Archives as a pdf file. Is it within their copyright to upload here so someone can have a look?

Regards

Corcam

They moved to Kemmel Sector on 22nd Feb. Moved to trenches north of Wulverghem - Battalion HQ - Scotch Farm. reserve Company= Lindenhoek. HQ moved to pond farm on 9th. Position heavily shelled and swept with Machine gun fire on 12th (Did they think it was their own but were wrong?). The Regimental historian noted - ' Trench became choked with dead and wounded. (Westlake British Battalions on the Western Front Jan-June 1915).

Neuve Eglise was a pretty hot place at the time.

As mentioned Lindenhoek was a couple of clicks behind the front - directly west of Spanbroekmolen.

Pond farm was south west of Spanbroekmolen. Off-hand I cannot place Scotch Farm.

stevem

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Thanks for all the information - obviously the information that was on the Roll was incorrect. At least now I know the correct country!!

Regards

Corcam

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