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Remembered Today:

Arras locations


DavidJ

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I am shortly hoping to visit Arras to witness the commemorations of the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Arras. The particular aspect that I am interested in is the participation of the 22nd Manchesters beginning with their movements from January 1917, and leading up to the 2nd Battle of Bullecourt in May 1917. Their diary indicates that they moved between the following sites - billets in or near Puchevillers, Bertrancourt, Mailly-Maillet, Bucquoy, and Ablainzeville, camps at or near Courcelles, Logeast Wood, Mory and Gomiecourt, and in the line at or near Croisilles, Ervillers, St Leger, Ecoust and Bullecourt. They moved about quite a lot, visiting some of the billets and camp sites on several occasions during that period.

With the exception of Logeast Wood, which sounds like a colloquial name given by the British to a local landmark, all the above places can easily be found on the map in the area south and south-west of Arras and north-east of Amiens. But does anyone know of any evidence that remains of activity in any of those places, whether it be camp sites, billet sites, or trench sites? I hope to visit them, and even if no evidence remains, just to pick up the ambience of the time. But if anyone has visited there before and knows that there are specific points of interest to look out for, or has any advice for visiting that area and those specific spots, that would be really helpful and probably save me some time. I will be grateful for any help or comments - DavidJ.

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I am interested in the movements of this battalion, as one of the 97 Bury Grammar School School old boys I am researching was Private Charles Coupe, 22nd Manchesters, who died in the battalion's attack on Bucqouy on 22nd March 1917. He is commemorated on Thiepval. No doubt you have a copy of Michael Stedman's excellent Manchester Pals book.

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Hi Mark -

Thanks for your reply, and yes, I do have the Stedman book. You will see from that (p.156) that the unsuccessful attack on Bucquoy took place on 14th March 1917 not the 22nd. On the 22nd, the 22nd Manchesters were in billets at Mailly-Maillet and then the next day marched into Bucquoy which had been evacuated by the German troops anyway on the 17th. Presumably therefore your man was one of the 52 wounded on the 14th March, and died from his wounds on the 22nd.

Hope this helps with your research. DavidJ.

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Not the 22nd (but the 17th) Manchesters:

http://www.xs4all.nl/~aur/layout/frames.ht...uals/barrie.htm

Also the following one gives a good feeling for the area:

http://www.xs4all.nl/~aur/layout/frames.ht...ields/Arras.htm

There are concrete remains (see map in Barrie article), collapsing dugouts in the road between Chuckoo Cem. and Fontaine and concrete shelters in the cowfields west of Fontaine.

VERY quiet area, one of my favourites.

Regards,

Marco

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With the exception of Logeast Wood, which sounds like a colloquial name given by the British to a local landmark, all the above places can easily be found on the map in the area south and south-west of Arras and north-east of Amiens.

Not quite sure what you mean, but Logeast Wood ('Bois de Logeast') is a real place just east of Bucquoy, and on the modern D7 between Ablainzevelle and Achiet le Grand. It is private, but there are tracks all round the wood, so you can view it from most angles.

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Marco, Paul and Guy -

Thanks so much for the information you have given me. Paul - yours is the easiest to absorb, and yes, I can now see from the map where Logeast Wood is, even though it is not marked on the maps I have. Marco and Guy - I'm rushing to prepare for my trip, and I can see that it will take me a time to read thoroughly the links you have posted up. But thanks for sharing it, and in due course I will read it all more carefully. But the poem you quote Guy is particularly moving, and says so much about the suffering back at home as well as "in the line". I'll certainly give a nod to Len while I am there - and to your John also, Marco. Thanks again. DavidJ.

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David, Mark..slightly off topic, but you both seem to know much about 22nd Manchesters. Would you know their location/activity on 11th Jan 07? I have a man (Lance Corp Edward Oldham) in 22nd, died 11 Jan, buried in Mailly Wood Cemy. Would like to know possible circumstances, was there an attack/shelling etc.

Also, he was given MM 10th August 16. Would this be for 1st July or other date?

Any info gratefully received, many Thanks, Peter

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  • 3 months later...

Hello Peter -

In April you made an enquiry about L/C Edward Oldham died 11 Jan 1917. I'm sorry that I've been away from the forum for months for a number of reasons, and have only just seen this enquiry.

If it is still of interest to you, the 22nd M/c were involved in an assault in the trenches near Bertrancourt and Mailly Maillet from the 11th to the 13th Jan 1917. On the 11th, they succeeded in capturing part of the Munich Trench and captured 3 officers, 130 men, and 4 machine guns. They held out under sniping and shelling until they were relieved by the Royal Warwickshire Regiment on the 13th, when they marched back to billets at Mailly Maillet. Their casualties were 1 officer and 15 O.R. killed, 1 officer and 10 O.R. missing, and 54 O.R. wounded. Presumably, your man was one of the O.R., but there are no details indicating why he might have been awarded a posthumous medal, so it may have been for this occasion or for a previous one.

Hope this very much delayed reply is of some help to you. Best wishes - DavidJ.

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