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Remembered Today:

Raid by 1/6 London Regt - 20 Feb 17


simony
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According to the regimental history of 6 London Regt, "The Cast Iron Sixth", a raid was carried out, in battalion strength, upon "the enemy trenches in map square I.34 in daylight" on 20 February 1917. The raid was very successful, the number of prisoners broke all records, "and was never equalled in a raid by a single battalion during the whole of the War". As far as I can tell, the raid was carried out in the area of Ravine Wood, 0.5 km North of The Bluff. (Not to be mistaken with the Ravine Wood, 1.5 kms West of Hollebeke in map square O.10)

My grandfather was shot during this raid, cas-evacced to Remy Farm, died and was buried next day in what is now Ljissenthoek CWGC Cemetary.

Considering it was such a successful raid, there seems to be nothing on record and I have so far been able to find out nothing further. Can anyone help, please?

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This raid is described in detail on pages 83-85 in 'Passchendaele - Unseen Panoramas of the Third Battle of Ypres' by Peter Barton. There are even German pictures of the very trenches raided by the Londons with an extremely fed up looking German officer inspecting the damage.

I have the entire war diary for Jan/Feb 1917 with full details of the raid if you would like more information. Please PM me if you want and I'll send it to you on disc.

Thanks

Jeremy

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Jeremy,

I'd love to have sight of the war diary entries and would really appreciate a disc. I will also lay my hands on a copy of the book you refer to.

Just as background, I only discovered my grandfather through family history researches. The man I had always thought was my grandfather turned out to be my step-grandfather as my grandmother re-married in 1919. I only discovered all this in November 06 but have visited his grave on the last two anniversaries of his death.

Address for disc: Simon Yates, 2 Duncton Close, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 4DX

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Simon,

I've just burnt off a disc and will pop it in the post tomorrow.

All the best with further family research,

Jeremy

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Jeremy, that is very kind and I'm very grateful. I look forward to receiving it.

I am going to Ypres this weekend so I shall re-visit Ravine Wood.

Simon.

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Simon, for what it's worth, the history of the 47th Division has a few pages, too, including a rather nice map. It might or might not add to the War Diary, but I'm happy to scan and e-mail, if you wish. Let us have your e-mail address if you're interested.

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Captain Cyril Falls writes in the Official History of the War. Military Operations France and Belgium 1917, p.533.

Second Army. The front, from east of Laventie to Boesinghe, was held by the II Anzac, IX, X and VIII Corps, with about eleven divisions in line, and until late in May rarely more than two in reserve. The characteristics of this front were the use of both sides of trench mortars to compensate for their lack of heavy artillery, mine warfare with fairly frequent blowing of defensive camouflets to wreck their opponent’s galleries, and great activity in raiding. On the British side some of these enterprises were on an exceptionally large scale. In particular, that carried out at 5pm on 20th February by the 1/6th London (140th Brigade, 47th Division) is said to have brought the largest number of prisoners ever taken in a raid by a British battalion on the Western Front. It was on a frontage of over 500 yards just north of the Bluff and half-way between the Ypres-Commines Canal and railway. … The raiders met practically no hostile fire going over. They remained an hour in the German position, which they completely wrecked, blowing up two mine-shafts and eighteen dugouts, and returned with 118 prisoners, and five machine-guns. Their own casualties were 76, including two missing.

Mark

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Mark,

Very many thanks for this. I'm new to the Forum and the info I have been given so far is excellent and is all helping me to develop a clearer picture of what was going on when my Grandfather was killed. Thank you very much.

Simon.

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