Post by nuuumannn on Sept 27, 2019 17:29:17 GMT 12
Havrincourt Chateau. During the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917, the village of Havrincourt was stormed by British tanks. The chateau had been destroyed earlier as the Germans made way for increased defenses on the Hindenburg Line. It was rebuilt exactly as it was in 1928.
Thank you so much for posting these and would love to see more. Looking back on my Eurpoe trip 20 odd years ago I did get to see the Burford Kiwi but never considered visiting these sites, It was the ones in Italy I particularly wanted to have visited as my Grandfather was with 4 RMT 2NZEF.
"I said Shoot,Shoot,Shoot. You never say fire in an airplane." Cdr Lou Page & Lt JG Smith USS Midway 1965
Post by nuuumannn on Sept 30, 2019 15:34:32 GMT 12
These posts will look at sites round the battle for Messines Ridge. Now we are in Vlanderen, Flanders and south of Ieper the course of the trenches is marked with trees with coloured cages surrounding them; red for the Germans, blue for the Commonwealth. Note how close the trenches were at this point, a few kilometres from the town of Kemmel.
Just after 3am on 7 June 1917, in advance of the assault on Messines Ridge, the British set off mines to stun the Germans. Stun them they did; around 10,000 Germans were killed by the explosions of some 19 mines. This is Spanbroekmolen crater, which is known as the Pool of Peace. There is a story doing the rounds about Ulstermen dying after the charge was delayed and they had reached the German lines, but it might be one of those myths that has stood the test of time.
The earth still gives up its secrets; farmers are urged to leave found unexploded ordnance outside their gates for collection and disposal by DOVO, the Belgian unexploded ordnance firm in what's known as the Iron Harvest.
Next, we head to the busy market town of Poperinge, or Pops to the British. Pops was a rearward depot and rest town for the beleagured soldiers, sadly however, in this cell, deserters were held until their execution in the courtyard outside.
Finally from this corner of Flanders, this non-descript farm is the site of the original Poperinge airfield. There were four airfields to the north of Pop, this one bearing the name of the town, being the closest to it.
Hi Delticman, yes, G'56 was 1162/17, from what I can gather. I did some research into the aircraft when I lived in Scotland back in the 90s when I found this photo of it within the museum's collection, much to my surprise at the time I learned it was flown by a Kiwi who was buried in Edinburgh. The photo of Collett's grave dates from then. Somewhere I have a copy of his Casualty Card from the RAF Museum. I can't remember how I found out that the Albatros was 1162/17, might have been Cross + Cockade as we had the lot up to that date. I had a local aviation artist called Ron Gale research the original colour scheme and he gave me a pen sketch with the colours marked in pencil, which I still have somewhere. I wrote an article in a Scottish magazine back then called The Kiwi and the Turncoat Albatros with the following sentence:
"Piloted by VizeFlugzeugmeister Ernst Clausnitzer, Albatros D V 1162/17 was forced down intact at Poperinghe, Belgium by 2nd Lt. Langsland flying a SPAD VII of 23 Sqn on July 16 1917. Less than a month later, it had forsaken the Iron Cross for the RFC roundel and had been flown to Martlesham for evaluation by EAS."
It's also worth noting that the aircraft was fitted with a British two-pronged pitot tube, visible at the top of the left hand interplane strut.
Last Edit: Oct 4, 2019 2:47:18 GMT 12 by nuuumannn
Author: Swift to the Sky – New Zealand’s Military Aviation History Author/publisher: For Your Tomorrow - A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 & A Passion For Flight - New Zealand aviation before the Great War. Publisher of Gp Capt C M Hanson’s By Such Deeds - Honours and Awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1923-1999
Continuing with the photographs from the Western Front, we are still in Flanders but to the east of Pop and Mesen at a place called the Gravenstafel Spur, near the small ville of Passendale. This is the New Zealand memorial to the losses of the Battle of Broodseinde; it is located on the site of the German trenches, which was a successful action for the Kiwis, but disaster was soon to follow.
Plaque commemorating the Battle of Broodseinde outside Tyne Cot Cemetery. Broodseinde was fought as a part of the greater Third Battle of Ypres and was less than a kilometre from Passendale, and was the only Kiwi success of the engagements named after the nearby ville.
Tyne Cot is the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world. The numbers speak for themselves: there are 11,956 graves here, of which 520 are New Zealanders. The memorial commemorates the loss of 34,857 men whose last resting places are unknown, of which 1,166 are New Zealanders.
This is the New Zealand memorial at Tyne Cot that commemorates Broodseinde and Passchendaele, where on 12 October, New Zealand forces suffered what is considered to be their greatest military defeat - author and historian Ian McGibbon has researched that on 12 October alone, 957 New Zealanders died from their wounds, significantly higher than was previously estimated.
An interesting mural in Zonnebeke. Note that the illustration at the bottom is based on the photos of Frank Hurley. Hurley was on Shackleton's Endurance expedition to Antarctica before the war and volunteered to go to the Western Front with his camera, where he captured some startling imagery of the campaign at Polygon Wood.
We are now in the heart of Polygon Wood, its foliage now grown back since the war, where it was turned into the wasteland we are familiar with. Prior to the advances near Passendale, the Aussies attacked the German emplacements here, this being one of them. The Aussie advance was supported by air power in the form of aircraft from the Australian Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service, hence the previous mural.
5th Australian Divison memorial at the Buttes New British cemetery, which is largely filled with Australian graves, despite its name. Called as such because the cemetery is situalted on a rifle firing range in Polygon Wood.
The following are images from notable sites in and around this part of West Vlanderen. This is at Hooge, where the titular Hooge Crater was located. This isn't it, it has since been filled in, but is in fact two different craters caused by mine explosions detonated by the Royal Engineers in July 1915. It is located in what is now a visitor park next to a hotel.
A view across what used to be the battlefield around the village of Hooge, which was wiped out during the fighting, from an artificial trench that is part of the Hooge Crater Museum. Those are original coiled stakes, though.
A pillbox on Hill 60. Originally built by the Germans, it was modified and extended by the Australians. The typical means of construction of Commonwealth bunkers is readily apparent; made of steel reinforced concrete, the walls were formed by sheets of corrugated iron, then the concrete was poured within and the iron sheets were removed, giving the exterior the corrugated appearance as evident. Compare with the German bunker in Polygon Wood in the previous post.
The mine crater at the Caterpillar, next to Hill 60, both of them separated by the railway line that produced the rubble that created what used to be named Côte des Amants. This mine and the Hill 60 one were set off at 3:10 am on 7 June 1917, heralding the assault on Messines Ridge - see the earlier post.
If anyone is interested in seeing Drone Videos of all these areas. Search up You Tube, Air Walks by Steve Upton. They are very interesting and informative. He has a collection of both Walks in Trenches and Drone Vids.
So, Ypres or Ieper in Flemish is famous for many things, as it was the focus of much fighting over the salient - the military term for a bulge in the battle lines and fighting in Flanders took part throughout the war over three seperate campaigns for control of this seemingly important scrap of land to the east of the town. We have covered some of the battle sites already over the First, Second and Third Battles of Ypres, but in this post we look at the picturesque town of Ieper, completely rebuilt since the war. Driving around in Vlanderen, it's remarkable that these historic wee towns are all less than 100 years old.
Firstly, my hotel in Ieper is located right on the main square opposite the Cloth Hall on Grote Markt - the Regina Hotel, which itself has a secret history. During the German occupation in WW2, while officers dined in the hotel restaurant, below their feet in the basement, British airmen hid in waiting for their chance to return to the UK with the help of the local Resistance.
The Great War has had a profound impact on Vlanderen and to this day, at the Menenpoort, or the Menin Gate at 8pm every night the Last Post is sounded, which brings tourists from around the world. The Menenpoort from outside the city walls. Note the Ypres Lions, reproductions after the originals were looted...
...By the Australians and are on display in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Actually, they were donated by the Mayor of Ieper in 1936, but its fun to blame the Aussies for stealing them! They are unique survivors, as like every structure in Ieper, the original entry gate into the walled city was decimated during the war.
More from Ieper. The Cloth Hall was completed in 1304 and was one of the largest Medieval structures in Europe. Ieper was a fabric trading town that had built its wealth on textiles, in competition with the nearby town of Poperinge, which could not match the strength of the market in Ieper, so turned to hops as its primary source of trade (producing some of that lovely Belgian beer they keep talking about!).
This is a picture of the Cloth Hall, which became a symbol of the destruction wrought by the fighting on the local infrastructure on the Western Front. It can be seen in the excellent Great War Exhibition in Wellington.
A friend of mine from the Netherlands drove down to visit me while I was in Ieper and we went on a photo sortie around the square after dinner. This is Sint Maartenskerk, next to the Cloth Hall; it is, of course a post war reporduction.