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Remembered Today:

Railway Hollow cwgc, Serre


Moriaty
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Holts Battlefield Guide says that Railway Hollow CWGC cemetery at Serre is "situated on the line of the old military railway which ran through here". The trench maps that I have looked at dont seem to have a railway line sited there. Can anyone throw any light on this?

Moriaty

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I had always thought that it was a light railway, taking trench stores one way, and wounded the other. It is dead ground, i.e. the Germans couldn't see it, runningalong the back of the four copses.

Have I been wrong?

Bruce

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I'm sure I have seen one map with a railway line marked, but can't access them where I am at the moment. I believe the line ran back towards Colincamps.

Alan

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I understand that a narrow gauge railway ran from behind the copses to the logistic area at Euston Dump and the nearby ADS near the present site of Euston Road Cemetery and then went to the rail head at Colincamps. There is a long trench called Railway Avenue which starts from Rob Roy trench and runs back past La Signey farm and past Euston dump and carries on towards Colincamps. I assume the rail line would have taken the same line as the communication trench but I am wary about my assumptions.

post-14342-1205762538.jpg

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Thanks for the trench map Peter, I suppose I would have expected to see a light railway line on the trench map if there was one or is Railway Avenue named so because of Euston, Waterloo Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge which are linked to London railway stations??

Moriaty

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According to Horsfall and Cave's 'Serre' the light railway "ran out of Railway Hollow SW, skirting Basin Wood on its way to Euston Dump and the RAMC Dressing Station".

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So are we saying that the line did not run along the back of the copses (in sheltered ground) but back from raiway hollow, up the slope and towards Euston? Surely once that line hit the top of the slope it would be open to view and so easily targeted?

Mark

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Mark

No that is not what has been said. The railway passed close to Basin wood, the Farm and the Dump and ADS on its way from the back of the copses. It would have used the dead ground between these points. I will try and take some photos when next there to investigate the possible route. I doubt that a light railway would leave a footprint that would survive 90 years of the plough.

Peter

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Cheers Peter.

I understand how no trace remains and a copy of a map (pictures) would be great however I still cannot understand how a line could run from the back of the copses in a straight (or winding) line back towards Basin Wood etc. Surely there must have been parts exposed and so target practice for German guns not half a mile away?

Mark

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Mark

This photo is taken from the entrance to Serre Road 3, about on the British front line, looking towards Basin Wood. Across the centre of the shot there is a line where the brown stubble meets a green crop. Between these there is a valley, the extension of the valley that runs behind the copses. The small copse left of centre is Basin Wood and between it and the green crop in front of it there is an extension of the valley mentioned above that has now turned through 180 degrees. Further you will note that you cannot see Euston Road Cemetery, the nearest feature to the site of Euston Dump. There is plenty of dead ground but the exact route is not yet known. It is possible that the line left the copses in the other direction and passed behind the green hill in my picture It could still be classed as near to Basin Wood and the Farm.

Peter

post-14342-1205994774.jpg

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Peter..

Thanks for the picture and the very plausible explanation. I have stood in the area of the cemetery and looked towards the Basin Wood but never the other way so am unsure of the ground (and even more unsure of the gound 90 years ago!). I have based my reasoning on the picures I have seen in Peter Bartons panaramic views book where it would appear the cameras were that powerful everything appears close up and flat even though the ground shown probably covered many hundreds of yards?

It is of course possible that the line ran as you state and as such I would ask that if anyone does have a map, photographs of the route the light railway took then they please post them here?

Again, thank you Peter.

Mark

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  • 2 weeks later...
Holts Battlefield Guide says that Railway Hollow CWGC cemetery at Serre is "situated on the line of the old military railway which ran through here". The trench maps that I have looked at dont seem to have a railway line sited there. Can anyone throw any light on this?

Moriaty

Photo's of Railway Wood Cemetery in Sheffield Memorial Park are to be viewed HERE .

Pierre

pierreswesternfront.punt.nl

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