Montauban Sucrerie / Briqueterie 1915

Montauban Sucrerie

This is a recent purchase in my non-collection of WWI stuff.  This building was @ 1/2 a mile north of the British Lines in Maricourt and the 17th Manchesters would have seen it in the distance from the Peronne Road in early 1916.

It is a German postcard that I purchased on European Ebay.  I’m a little surprised to see the Infantryman looking so relaxed out in the open.  It’s possible the buildings shielded him from the view of the British machine gunners and snipers.

The site was know as the Briquterie (Brickworks) to the British and the Germans created a major defensive strong point, or redoubt, there by the Summer of 1916.  The week long British bombardment of the German defensives will have flattened any remaining structures by the end of June 1916, but the defenses were still fomidable.

30th Division advanced to Montauban on the morning of 1st July 1916 and the 20th King’s Liverpools secured the Briquterie around mid day.  It became something of a British strong point for future attacks on Bernafay & Trones Wood and Guillemont beyond.  The 17th Battalion will have trooped past the site before their assaults on 9th and 30th July 1916.

The site had so many buried munitions that it was too dangerous to reinstate the land for farming after the war.  We can still recognise and visit the overgown area today.  It is about 100 yds south of the Crossroads near Bernfay Wood.  DO NOT DIG!


Remembering Private John Morrissey 8734. Died 2/11/1916. | 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment on the Somme

John Morrissey died on 2nd November 1916 as a Prisoner of War in Germany.  He is buried in NIEDERZWEHREN CEMETERY which includes many men who have been re interred from other previous PoW cemeterie…

Source: Remembering Private John Morrissey 8734. Died 2/11/1916. | 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment on the Somme

Army Cyclist Corps and men from the 17th Manchesters

Percy Murch of17th Manchesters, III Platoon transferred to 30th Division Cycling Company, which became XIII Corps Cyclist Battalion of the newly formed Army Cyclist Corps (ASC).  Many pre-War Territorial Cyclist Battalion men joined the ASC, including 2nd Lieutenant John Edward Brown, on attachment from 5th (Cyclist) Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment.  He was the father of wonderful lady in North Ferriby who passed away in August.  I know this is not fully on topic, but here’s part of a great collection of photos that I’m hoping site visitors will help with dating and clarifying.

This is useful link to the 25th London Cyclists About.

The Cyclists were not suited to static trench warfare and only made significant impact in the last 100 days.  John Brown literally chased the Germans out of France on the 11th November 1918!  Please leave a comment if you know anything about the East Yorks / XIII Cyclists, or can help explain the photos.

Captain Robert Mansergh MC and Merchiston Castle men in the Manchester Regiment – A Biography

Thanks to Sue Nelson, David Findley and a number of helpful contributors we’ve created a Biography of Robert Mansergh.  He had just celebrated his 18th Birthday when Robert (Bob) was Commissioned in the 2nd City Battalion of the Manchester Regiment and became Arthur Bell’s Officer in Command of III Platoon.  Bob had joined a group of masters and old boys from Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh.  His Biography covers these valiant men and their service in the Great War.

Any Comments are thoroughly welcome.  Readers should enjoy the photos and personal anecdotes.

Specialist Training for 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment- The Bomber

Image- © IWM (Q 4156) Bombing party practising throwing bombs over a traverse at the training school, Wisques, near St. Omer, 28 August, 1916.

New photo of training on grenade throwing.  A very dangerous business apparently.  Captain Robert Mansergh MC bravely picked up a dropped Mills Bomb from a trench and threw it away before the fuse discharged.  On 18th August two men were killed and one died the next day during rifle grenade training. Others were wounded including Lieutenant Alan Holt MC

See Anniversary 18th/19th August 1916 Rifle Grenade Accident

Source: Specialist Training – The Bomber

Centenary of Passchendaele – Corporal 9470 Edmund Kane

Edmund Kane Courtesy sufingbabe2 on ancestry

Edmund Kane Courtesy surfingbabe2

Thirty two men from 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment were killed on the opening day of the Battle Passchendaele – 3rd Battle of Ypres.  A recent visitor to the site is related to Corporal 9470 Edmund Kane and this blog entry commemorates Edmund and the other men that fell on that day.

Edmund was born in south Manchester in the first Quarter of 1893.  His parents were William and Mary Jane Kane.  William worked in an engineering works in 1901 and the family lived at 5 Baxter Street, Hulme.  Mary Jane had been born in Canada and at least eleven children identified on Census records.  Edmund was her second eldest son.  She had been widowed by the time of the 1911 Census, when Edmund was working as a call boy in a theatre.  The family then lived at 31 Leaf Street, Hulme.  The Manchester Evening News of 24 August 1917 reported Edmund had attended St Wilfred’s School.

Based on the sequence of Edmund’s Regimental Number it is thought he enlisted in the 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment during the spring of 1915.  He was initially posted to XIX Platoon of E (Reserve) Company, although he will have probably have transferred to A, B, C or D Companies before they left for Belton Park in April 1915.  This transfer may have been later.

XIX Pln Photo

XIX Pln Photo April 1915

It is unlikely that Edmund had remained with 17th Battalion since their arrival in France on 8th November 1915, yet no records of wounds or illness have been identified.  Medal records illustrate three postings in 17th, 19th and 17th Battalions, indicating two occasions where Edmund may have been wounded. Very few of the original members will have remained at duty by July 1917.

Edmund was killed in action near Sanctuary Wood on 31st July 1917, which was the opening day of the Battle of Passchendaele.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate.


Mary Jane Kane received her sons Effects.  Edmund’s medals were returned to the War Office, with a slight prospect that these may now be claimed by family members.


Corporal Edmund Kane’s name inscribed on the Menin Gate

XIX Pln Roll

XIX Pln Roll