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SHELLTRAP/MOUSE TRAP FARM


Cnock
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Hi,

The pic shows Shell Trap Farm (Wasserschloss) in 1915 ( RIR 234)

post-7723-1184181311.jpg

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...which farm could this be ,

only called 'Schloss' by the Germans (RIR 236), in the same sector in front of St.Julien.

Regards,

Cnock

pic :

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Harry,

Chavasse second VC was near Wieltje.

Regards,

Cnock

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Does anyone knows the exact date of Whit monday 1915?

Thanks

Cnock

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Tom,

Thank You

The Germans took Shell Trap Farm on 24/5/1915, so it is possible that the second photo is also Shell Trap Farm.

I have another original pic of the second farm with Geman caption that it was captured on 24/5/1915.

Regards,

Cnock

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Another original pic taken near Shell Trap Farm in 1915

post-7723-1184190048.jpg

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Harry,

Chavasse second VC was near Wieltje.

Regards,

Cnock

Thank you. I'm sure I've read somewhere though that he served in that vicinity. I just assumed he won one of his VCs there.

Harry

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Thought it worth reminding everyone that Shell Trap (Mouse Trap) Farm was the HQ of Brigadier-General Richard Turner VC, the Canadian general most responsible during 2nd Ypres. He and his staff had to flee the farm late on 25 April 1915. It is also the site where Lt. Col. Francis Scrimger (M.D.) earned his Victoria Cross for protecting Captain H. MacDonald from shell fire after the later was injured.

http://www.civilization.ca/cwm/media/bg_scrimger_e.html

According to Turner's diary, which is in the War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario, the general and his staff had to swim to safety; Brigadier-General Arthur C. Currie's staff had to do the same a day later when they fled Pond Farm about a mile and a half to the west.

Turner was judged to have so mishandled the battle -- mainly by his obsession with sending troops to the GHQ Line -- that Lt. General E. Alderson, who commanded the 1st Canadian Division, sent him to England at the first oppurtunity.

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Cnock

Thank you for the excellent pictures. I am very interested to see the farm from these varied angles.

The Northumberland Fusiliers Territorial battalions, 149th Bde, 50th Div. advanced beween Mousetrap/Shelltrap farm and the road in the battle of St. Julien, 2nd Ypres, on the afternoon of 26th April 1915. The GHQ wire was just past the farm.

The Battalions sustained many casualties. For the 6th N.F. it was one of the worst days of WW1 and it happened only 6 days after leaving England.

This farm is labelled Wasser Schloss on German maps, although perhaps this same name was used for many moated farms.

On maps and diagrams the farm is shown with the tall buildings and with the older buildings looking like parts of an old castle behind and the moat round them.

I have a diagram from the Canadian War Diaries showing the layout & position of the farm in relation to the St. Julien Rd. I'll lokk tis out later.

The existence of the moat is mentioned in many accounts, including in a book on locations by Beatrice Brice, which I don't possess and so can't quote or give the details.

kate

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Here is the farm labelled Wasser Schloss and showing the usual diagramatic shape of the 3 more modern farm buildings and then the older more castle like part behind with the moat surrounding it.

This section of map is labelled 1918 and from the look of the earlier 1915 pictures I am sure the buildings would not have been so clear and distinct by that time.

post-2045-1184537381.jpg

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And here is the diagram, showing the buildings and the position with regard to the road, from the War Diary of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Bde on the Canadian Archive site.

Kate

post-2045-1184537592.jpg

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I came across this picture of Shelltrap Farm in the War Diary of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade.

Alan

post-5390-1184538875.jpg

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Alan

That is a very good picture of the "courtyard or farmyard " of the farm buildings at the time when they were occupied by troops.

The photograph in Post 10 shows a building which has 2 roofs, which does not seem like the buildings around the courtyard, but the start of the older buildings in ruins can also be seen on the post 10 picture.

kate

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Kate,

I'm glad you pointed out that indeed there must have been more Wasserschlösser (moated farms) in the area. I didn't want to sound too critical, but that was my opinion too. We can never be sure that a Wasserschloss pic indeed is Mouse Trap Farm, unless we have more data about the picture and location.

There is no doubt : a common name (German) for Shell / Mouse Trap Farm was Wasserschloss. But I have a photo too named Wasserschloss (don't remember the source) which can be assumed to be a farm in my village Boezinge, just east of the canal, on British maps "Farm 14", on other German diagrams "Edelsheim". However, I have never been sure if this is our Boezinge Wasserschloss, or Mouse Trap Farm. And the scenery (background) and shape of the ruins does not help me at all.

Aurel

post-92-1184577130.jpg

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Have just done a search on Mousetrap on the forum and have found many threads where we have discussed this farm and its various names Mousetrap/Shelltrap /Wasserscloss/ Chateau du Nord etc.

Aurel, Cnock, Nathan & kate have usually been involved in the discussions.

The farm is very identifiable on maps & we know the area just past the farm to have been where many of the "missing" from the Battle of St. Julien fell. On maps we see graves marked in this area and it may be that these graves were lost in later fighting, because, for example, most of the 6th N.F. who died on 26th April 1915 are commemorated on the Menin Gate.

Apart from the obvious symbolic significance of this building the structure of these moated farms is very interesting.

As you say Aurel, there seem to have been quite a number of moated farms in the area.

Even if all the photos posted are not "Mousetrap", it is interesting, in Post 1 & post 10 to see what looks like a moat and a temporary structure for crossing it, made of what look like planks and metal pipes.

At first I couldn't understand the ruins like broken teeth, shown behind the farm buildings which are in use in the 3rd Canadian Inf. Bde photograph.

I think, eventually it was thought that the ruins, looking to be made of stone, were ruins of the original (very old) farm buildings and had been in ruins prior to the Great War and those ruins were enclosed in the semi circular part of the site.

The other 3 farm buildings surrounding the courtyard were also built prior to the Great War but were the actual working farm and these newer buildings were almost destroyed in April/May 1915.

Kate

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Hi,

Thanks everybody for the interesting replies.

I can only add that the pics are part of a set taken in 1915 between the frontline near Ypres and St.Julien.

RIR 234 belonged to 51st Reserve Division that was stationed partly before the sector of St. Julien.

It is certainly not Boesinge!

Regards,

Cnock

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View from first line, same sector, direction Ypres

Cnock

post-7723-1184612959.jpg

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It is certainly not Boesinge!

Cnock

Cnock,

Please don't misunderstand me. I have absolutely no reason to cast any doubt on the location of your pics. All I was saying was that indeed, in general one has to be careful with names "Wasserschloss", for they can refer to other "moated farms". In general, for other pics. If there is doubt it is with regard to the photo that I myself posted : Boezinge or Mouse Trap Farm ?

Aurel

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Discussion of & questioning of evidence, photographic or otherwise, is one of the best features of this forum.

It is always a very good bonus if resources are labelled at the time, even if the labelling is not always as detailed as we would later hope. Probably, at the time, "Schloss" seemed to be enough detail.

Some family photographs in my house have been carefully labelled with date, place, people on the photo, event etc. but most of them have not been labelled, because we thought at the time that the subject, place etc. would be apparent to everyone.

Paul. That aerial photograph is so clear and the outline of Mousetrap farm so apparent. It could be used to estimate the position of the photographer in the other photos.

Kate

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