Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

SHELLTRAP/MOUSE TRAP FARM


Cnock
 Share

Recommended Posts

Think I have seen other and better examples, but this farm from the same 1918 german map looks as though it may have a moat, but cannot be sure of the diagramatic legend.

Kate

post-2045-1184679876.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And.

Could this be a moated farm near to Wieltje?

post-2045-1184680028.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Could this be a moated farm near to Wieltje?

Kate,

Correct. 1.2 km southsouthwest of Mouse Trap Farm.

And where Wieltje Cemetery is now.

Aurel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Harry,

Chavasse second VC was near Wieltje.

Regards,

Cnock

And Mousetrap Farm is also near Weiltje. I think it's about 600 metres NE of the village.

I know that the Bn HQ was situated in Weiltje but once the battalion moved forward on the 31st July, Noel Chevasse went with them and set up an aid post at Setques farm. Surely it was his actions during the battalion's advance to The Steenbeek and in and around Setques Farm that earned him the second VC. This was, of course where he was injured on a number of occasions but refused to return to Weiltje. An exploding shell inside the aid post at Setques Farm injured him again, this time mortally, and he died on Saturday 4th August.

I'm sticking my neck out here but a local soldier Albert Halton is listed as winning his VC at Poelkappelle but the action that earned him the award was "in the vicinity" of the village, not in Poelkappelle itself. I think that is also the case with Chevasse. Weiltje was the Bn HQ; it is probably also the nearest village to Setques Farm so I have always read it as "in the vicinity of".

I have been trying to remember where I heard that Chevasse's magnificent service to the injured and the dead on the battlefield east of Wiltje took him to the area of Mousetrap Farm but age you know plays havoc with one's memories. The distances though weren't at all excessive so I have no difficulty accepting it as a real possibility.

Harry

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello,

Compare with post nr.20, aerial photo Paul Reed.

Cnock

post-7723-1184782788.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Rait-Kerr, Sylvester Cecil, Capt, 22nd Trench Howitzer Battery, Royal Field Artillery, 2nd son of Sylvester Rait-Kerr, of Rathmoyle, Edenderry, King’s County, Ireland, by his wife, Mary, daughter of the late Major-General Charles Scrope Hutchinson, C.B., R.E. Born in Rathmoyle, afsd., 14 Oct, 1887. Eductaed at Arnold House< Llandulas, Rugby School, and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. Gazetted Leiut, 18 Dec, 1910. Went to South Africa in Oct, 1910 with the 100th Barrety, R.F.A. and afterwards preceeded to India and was home on leave from India when war broke out. He was employed for some weeks in training men in various places, being promoted Capt, 30 Oct, 1914, and on 6 Nov, left for France with “G” Battery, T.H.A., but was subsequently transferred to the 41st Battery, R.F.A. In April, 1915, he was given the command of a Trench Howitzer Battery, with which he went into the trenches near Wieltje on 6 May, and was killed in action on the 13th, being shot through the head by a German sniper whilst carrying bombs to his guns.

Buried in the trenches close to the spot where he fell. The General Officer Commanding the 11th Infantry Brigade, wrote; “ I have been informed that you would like to know a few particulars of the gallant work done by your son and the 22nd Trench Mortar Battery while they were under me in the hard fighting of May 9 to 13, during the 2nd Battle of Ypres. Your son was posted in the trenches to the left of a building, named by the troops ‘Shelltrap Farm,’ which was about the hottest part of the line, and his duty was to assist the infantry in keeping back the enemy from sapping up to the farm buildings, and to endeavour to blow their saps. The enemy’s shelling was so intense at that time after the trench mortars were silenced and the crews buried, but they were dug out and started on again, and they refused to be relieved. Cooke, the Subaltern, was hit and his shoulder dislocated, but he refused to go to hospital, ad the whole battery displayed a similar spirit all through the fighting, the severity of which may be judged from the fact that Shelltrap Farm was lost and re-taken with the bayonet three times in twenty-four hours,”

And the General Officer Commanding the 4th Division; “ I remember Rait-Kerr and his 22nd Trench Mortar Battery well. It was the best battery of that sort that we ever had with the 4th Division, and under him it did invaluable service in the front trenches during the fighting from the 6th to the 13th of May (1915) which was some of the worst we had in France. I know he was a great loss to the Division and to the Service.” The officer in charge of the Trench Howitzer School, 2nd Army Corps, wrote; “ He had done magnificently with his trench battery and had received the congratulations of the divisional and Brigade commanders to whom his battery was attached. He was a great friend of mine, and without doubt the finest officer who had passed through the Trench Howitzer School. There was no officer in the British Army who could have done it better. He was a gallant fellow. He was the ideal British officer, a real tiger with his men, but loved and admired by them. In this Army ( the 2nd) he made trench Howitzers.

He was, of course, recommended for a decoration, and he richly deserved it,” and the Subaltern under him in his battery wrote, “ His death was a great blow to all of us in the battery. He was a splendid fellow, and did no know what fear was. He was recommended to General Commanding 4th Division for gallantry during the action by officer commanding the 2nd Monmouths, who told me he had upheld the best traditions of the Royal Artillery.” His brother, Capt, W.C.Rait-Kerr, was killed in action at Veldhoek, 10 Nov, 1914.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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

Alan

If I did not know better I would say the picture of the undestroyed farm was Varlet Farm. Here's what it looks like now...

post-3373-1246292368.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

I have a relative no.45121 Sapper George Raymond Hifle, Canadian Engineers, 1st Canadian Division who saw action at Mousetrap farm 22nd to 25th April 1915.

The 3rd Field Company (commanded by Major C B Wright) were situated east of the Yser Canal. The special task of the engineers was the construction of a support line across the Canadian front.

The 3rd Field Company was billeted in the Canadian Farm, north of Mousetrap Farm, which was just south of the Franco-British Boundary and about 1.5 km,s northwest of Wieltje.

At about 6.00pm the rifle fire became heavy in the vicinity of the farm from German infantry located to the northwest, on Mauser Ridge. It was decided to harness up the horses and the company tool wagons. The Company was ordered to fall in and the drivers prepared horses and wagons to depart. The dismounted portion of the company manned the trenches south of the 3rd Brigade HQ, and the mounted portion departed. The transport moved off to cross over the Yser Canal to Vlamertinghe. It was not possible to take the bridging equipment with it, since the wagons were inYpres at the time. Also the dismounted had to leave much of its equipment behind when it entered the line.

The rest of the men of the company stayed in the field, and were under the orders of the 3rd Canadian Brigade HQ. The men of 3rd Field Company moved into position to man the G.H.Q. Line along a hedge which ran to the east of Mouse Trap Farm. Their billets burned within half an hour while they were holding out in the GHQ supplementary trenches against a German advance.

A mixture of Canadian Engineers, French Zouave’s and 3 Company’s of the Canadian 14th Battalion extended past Mouse Trap Farm to Hampshire Farm where they were touch with the enemy 400 yards to the north. The 3rd Field Company covered the Wieltje-St. Julien road.

The farms had come under intense artillery fire. ALmost continuous fire of one sort another since the attack started on 22 April 1915. Conditions were chaotic with many wounded and many buildings on fire.

The 3rd Field Company Canadian Engineers lost its Unit Diary and all the Officers and Other ranks kit during the battle on the 22 April 1915.

This is a copy of a note sent BY Major C B Wright, 3rd Field Company concerning the burning of billets on 23 April 1915

Regards Mark

post-14045-1246318834.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 8 years later...
  • 3 years later...

I was at mouse trap farm today,well the entrance and the memorial plaque was in a small ditch nearby.

I rescued it but it was in a terrible state and unreadable.

I was taking pictures of the farm and the owner can down the path and questioned me. He was friendly and we explained about my Granfather and my great uncle being there in May 24 1915.

I asked how can get the memorial sign bolted back on the plinth and he was not able to give me a any advice on it.

It seemed a  terrible shame that it was found in a ditch and badly destroyed.

Many soldiers died that day particular from the RDF and the Royal Irish Rgt. 24 May 1915

However I  cleaned it as much as possible and propted it up against the original metal post.

 

Gerry

Edited by Don
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Don said:

I was at mouse trap farm today,well the entrance and the memorial plaque was in a small ditch nearby.

I rescued it but it was in a terrible state and unreadable.

I was taking pictures of the farm and the owner can down the path and questioned me. He was friendly and we explained about my Granfather and my great uncle being there in May 24 1915.

I asked how can get the memorial sign bolted back on the plinth and he was not able to give me a any advice on it.

It seemed a  terrible shame that it was found in a ditch and badly destroyed.

Many soldiers died that day particular from the RDF and the Royal Irish Rgt. 24 May 1915

However I  cleaned it as much as possible and propted it up against the original metal post.

 

Gerry

Very sad to hear this, and well done for your efforts. My grand uncle Sgt. Edward Connolly RDF was relatively lucky to have been captured at the farm and survived. Unfortunately this neglect may become more common as time moves on and people forget.

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I  was going to bring it home and try to repair it and then fix it to the plynth.

 

Here is a pic of it 

WIN_20210919_11_48_05_Pro.jpg

Edited by Don
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will be returning to Mouse Trap farm next week  and will bring the plaque home and have it restored and then will bolt  it in to the steel pylon.

The owner has agreed to it, which I was very greateful 

 

Regards Gerry

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Unfortunately when I returned to Mouse Trap Farm the plaque on the roadside  was missing ,I searched for it where I left it and to no avail.

I was hoping to have it restored and erected in its original place.

 So many brave Men were KIA in the vinicinity and there is nothing now to comenerate them. It was a sad journey back to Brussels. 

In the fields surrounding the farm,I belive there are many remains of the Royal Irish Regiment, the Hants, Rifle Brigade,  Royal Dublin Fusiliers and other Regiments I can't recall. I had poppy cross and put it the field and said a quite prayer for the fallen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have found this a very interesting thread to read, as my Gt.Grandfather was in the Somerset Light Infantry 1st Battalion and I understand from the war diaries that he was billeted at Mouse Trap Farm, Wieltje. He was killed in action on the 28/5/1915 at St Julien.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Sandie

Is your Gt. Grandfather buried near by.

I will be going up again soon

Regards Gerry

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Gerry, thank you so much for such a kind thought, sadly his body was never recovered and he is on the Menin Gate Memorial.

Sandie.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This the diary entry for 28/5/1915 and C’ Coy was Henry Reason’s battalion leader: image.jpeg.e9b27906631ed3fa9cb06fcfb5e51352.jpeg

I am just trying to work out roughly which area Henry was killed in, it’s unlikely I know!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Sandie,

I will find him on the Menin Gate and will send a photo of his name.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Gerry if you can get a photo of the plague or details, material etc as to what was on the missing one I can reproduce another if you would replace it. 

Mickster

(artist and ancient artefact restorer) retired

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Mickkster, Just getting to this now,

I haven't been able to locate again. Searched for it  but no sign of it 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...