Chapter 5d – Arras trenches

Historical Context The Arras offensive, which is now officially referred to as the Battle of Arras, ended on the 24th of May. Although more limited actions did continue in the area right through…

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  1. Tunnel Trench ran from the Knuckle (near The Hump referred to earlier in the text) for approximately four kilometres in a northwesterly direction towards Heninel
  2. Bullecourt 51bSW4 Ref: U.7.d
  3. Sgt Leslie Bell (No 200088) was mentioned in General Sir D. Haig’s May dispatches for distinguished conduct 
  4.  Bertie William Adcock (9007) was mentioned in General Sir D. Haig’s May dispatches for distinguished conduct 
  5. Lt W. M. Turner (Transport Officer) was mentioned in General Sir D. Haig’s May dispatches for distinguished conduct
  6. The 2nd Inoculation is likely to have been for Typhoid. Typhoid innoculations were voluntary at the outbreak of war but mandatory by 1915. Many of the wounded were also administered anti-tetanus serums. 
  7. Boiry Becquerelle -   Lat/Long 50.12.49N  2.49.06E
  8. Boisleux au Mont horse troughs   Boisleux Map:  10-51BSW3     Ref: S.10.d.8.2
  9. Boisleux Au Mont -  Boisleux Map:  10-51BSW3-3A   Ref: S.10.c
  10. Boisleux St Marc - Boisleux Map: 10-51BSW3– S.11.d -      Ref: S17 c central 
  11. Cavalry Farm -  Vis en Artois Map: 51BSW2    Ref O14a.6.5
  12. Neuville Vitasse -  Lat/Long 50.14.44N;  2.48.59E
  13. 2nd Lt H.B. Bell has not been identified at this time 
  14.   Lat/Long 50.13.12N: 2.42.55E
  15. Wood Trench: Bullecourt Map: 51bSW4 -   Ref: O.31d.2.2
  16. Fontaine Wood: Bullecourt Map: 51bSW4 - Ref: U.2a.7.3
  17. The Rookery –   Map       Ref: N.30.c
  18. Bullfinch trench –    Map           Ref: O.25.d 
  19. Spoor Lane appears to have been renamed Monkey Lane later in the conflict
  20.  Nut trench –  Map -  Ref: O.20.b & d
  21. St Rohart’s Quarry -  Map:     51BSW2-7A            Ref: O.15.c
  22.  Kestral Avenue - Map  Ref: O.19.c.50.25 
  23. Bison Trench -      Vis-en-Artois Map: 51bSW2   Ref: O.20.c
  24.  Ibis Trench –   Vis-en-Artois Map: 51bSW2   Ref: O.26.a
  25.  Neuville Vitasse crossroads:  Ref N.20.a.l 
  26. Neuville Vitasse crossroads:    Ref N.20.a.l 
  27. Neuville Vitasse Camp:   Map 51b S.W.1 –     Ref
  28.  In an ‘Application shoot’ the rifleman tries to achieve a high score, correcting his aim after every shot, whereas in a grouping the rifleman strives to put every round through the same hole by aiming all shots at exactly the same point 
  29.  Coy ‘J’ was part of the 3rd Battalion of the RE Special Gas Brigade 
  30.  Sgt Fred Pittendreigh (4/1531) 
  31.  L/Cpl George E. Clark (4/2555, 200783) 
  32.  Pte R. Robson (200829) 
  33.  Pte Matthew Anderson (4/5071, 201960) was transferred to the 4th NF from the 8th NF (8/29534). ‘B’ Coy was awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty near Wancourt on the 24th and 25th April 1917
  34.  ‘B’ Coy recipients were L/Cpl Robert McClure (4/2829, 200917); Sgt James R. Saint (4/1930, 200504); Thomas Sterling Nichol (204607)
  35.  Pug Lane – Map Reference: U.1.b. which was probably a former enemy communication trench linking to the Hindenburg Line
  36. Rotten Row – Vis en Artois Map: 10-51BSW2: Ref: O.31.c
  37. Avenue Trench – Vis en Artois Map: 10-51BSW2: Ref: N.36
  38. 4.5 Howitzers
  39.  Pte Thomas Hanley (4/9418, 235072) was born (b. Monster Tiererart) (e. Jarrow) and is buried at Héninel Communal Cemetery Extension
  40. 77mm was the calibre of the standard German field gun
  41. Junction of Egret Loop with Foster Avenue.  Vis en Artois map: 10-51BSW2 - Reference: N.30.b.2.4
  42. Tunnelling activity in order to lay mines had passed its peak by this time
  43.  Junction of Cuckoo and Foster Avenue –  Vis en Artois Map   10-51BSW2 -  Ref: O.25.c.2.6 
  44.  Trench mortar emplacements –  Vis en Artois Map: 10-51BSW2 -      Ref: O.31.d.4.4 
  45. Egret Trench –  Vis en Artois Map: 10-51BSW2 -           Ref: N.30.b.2.4 
  46.  Concertina wire, or coiled barbed wire as we now know it was was stretched out and secured in place with metal pickets which were hammered or screwed into the ground
  47. 149th Bde Reserve Camp.   Neuville Vitasse Map: 51BSW1-6A -       Ref: N.25.a.5.4
  48. Concrete Trench – Bullecourt Map:   10-51BSW4-2A:  Ref: N.36.c
  49.  Swift Trench -   Map         Ref: O.31.d.4.4 
  50.  The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) is still going strong around the world as a youth development charity. The first YMCA was formed by George Williams in St Paul's churchyard in the heart of London in 1844. During WW1, the British YMCA extended its work across the Channel to support the troops. YMCA huts provided soldiers with food, drink and free writing paper and envelopes
  51.  Shaft or Tunnel Trench was built by the Germans as part of the Hindenburg Support Line approximately 1 mile south of Héninel and stretching approximately 4 kilometres towards Bullecourt. Bullecourt Map: 6a (25.4.18) T.5. & T6 
  52. Vickers Ltd originated as a Sheffield steel foundry in 1828, but by 1914 it was a major manufacturer of military equipment including the machine gun
  53. 60cm was the common railway gauge used by the military in France
  54. Jackdaw was the frontline trench in this sector and was immediately in front of Ibis Support
  55.  Buffalo Trench – Was probably the trench looping round from Spoor Lane in the south to the northern end of Ape Support 
  56. Curlew Trench junction with Kestral Avenue :  Vis En Artois Map: 51BSW2-8A -  Ref: N.24.d.6.5 
  57. The bank was probably alongside the road - Neuville Vitasse map: 51BSW1-6A -   Ref: N.21.a
  58. Lion Trench: Vis En Artois Map: 51BSW2-8A -     Ref: O.19.c.9.9
  59.  Duck Trench:  Vis En Artois Map: 51BSW2-8A -  Ref: N.24.d.9.5 
  60. 2nd Lt Davies 
  61. Possibly the ... inch Skoda howitzer
  62. Metal rods with a corkscrew end to enable them to be quietly screwed into the ground (rather than hammered) to support barbed wire.
  63. Buck Reserve Trench –     Vis En Artois Map: 51BSW2-8A -           Ref: O.19.b
  64. The 2nd Northumbrian Field Coy RE was renamed the 447th Field Coy 
  65. Screens were used to hide trenches, gun emplacements, busy road intersections etc
  66. The two-inch medium trench mortar fired a spherical shaped bomb attached to a long shaft which slotted into the mortar barrel. It soon acquired the nickname ‘Toffee Apple’ 
  67. Unclear whether this 2nd Lt Davies served with 4th or 6th NF
  68. Dummy figures and heads were used to fake attacks (sometimes referred to as a Chinese attack) or attract sniper fire 
  69. During WW1 the General Service (GS) wagon was the British Army’s principal horse drawn logistics vehicle 
  70. No4 post was approx 150 yards east of the end of Shikar Avenue.      Vis En Artois Map: 51BSW2-8A -           Ref: O.20.d.4.9
  71.  Buffalo Trench – Was probably the trench looping round from Spoor Lane in the south to the northern end of Ape Support 
  72.  Buck Reserve Trench – Vis En Artois Map: 51BSW2-8A -           Ref: O.19.b 
  73.  L/Cpl John Ralph Carson (204569) (b & e. Newcastle) was transferred from the 25th NF to the 4th NF. He is buried at Héninel Communal Cemetery Extension 
  74.  Pte George Fuller Poppy (4/5260, 202120) was transferred to the 4th NF from the East Yorks Regt (4/7983). George is buried at Héninel Communal Cemetery Extension 
  75. Thiromite - possibly meant Thermite
  76. Narrow and Narrow Support Trenches. Vis En Artois map: 51BSW2-8A -.Ref: O.26.c.25.10 to O.26.c.5.70
  77. The 6th DLI were carrying out this action with dummies. A dummy tank was also used
  78. The dummies were fixed in position near Post No4 on the night of the 14th 
  79. Jackdaw was the frontline trench in this sector and was immediately in front of Ibis Support
  80. 149th Bde Reserve Camp.    Neuville Vitasse Map: 51BSW1-6A -       Ref: N.25.a.5.4
  81. The sunken road appears on the trench map, but has now gone.  Neuville Vitasse map: 51BSW1-6A:  Ref: N.15.d
  82. Details camp:     Map       Ref: M.29 
  83. Boisleux Au Mont:    Boisleux map 51BSW3-4A -         Ref: S.10.a
  84. Southampton Sidings were part of the original French railway system on the northern outskirts of Boisleux-au-Mont. : Boisleux map 51BSW3-4A - Reference: S.10.a
  85. Dug out
  86. Rifle Range:    Map      Ref: M.24.a – M.23.b
  87. Durham Lines:  Map        Ref: S.1.a.51.b. SW
  88. Horse Shoe Sap:      Bullecourt map: 51BSW-6A     Ref: O.31.b.75.15 
  89. Broom Tank: Bullecourt map: 51BSW-6A - Ref: U.1.a.25.50
  90. Dodo Trench: Bullecourt map: 51BSW-6A - Ref: U.1.a.90.90
  91. Buffalo Trench – Was probably the trench looping round from Spoor Lane in the south to the northern end of Ape Support
  92. The No4 Post in this sector was where Pelican sunken road crossed into No man’s land. U.1.b.3.7
  93.  Buck Reserve Trench –Vis En Artois Map: 51BSW2-8A -   .Ref: O.19.b
  94. 51st Divn - recently transferred from the fighting around Ypres
  95.  Boiry St Rictrude:    Boisleux map: 51BSW3-4A -   Ref: S.14.c
  96.  Rees returned to France to take command of 149th Bde. (50th Divn) on 8th March 1917, seeing action at Arras during the following month. At the end of July, Rees was taken ill and hospitalised; losing command of 149th Bde. Following his recovery, he returned to the 50th Divn in France and took command of the 150th Bde on 27th February 1918
  97.  Edward Pius Arthur Riddell (b. May 1875) was commissioned into the NF from the Militia in Feb 1900 and served in South African War (1901-1902). Transferred to the Rifle Brigade in June, 1908. Based at Sandhurst in command of a Coy of Cadets at the outbreak of WW1. Commanded 1st Cambridgeshire Regt (TF) from 10 Jun 1916 until 30 Sep 1917. Award D.S.O. for conspicuous gallantry in action on the 14th Oct 1916 at Schwaben Redoubt [zotpressInText item="{A8MRVADT}"]