Yorkshire Trench, Boezinge, Ypres

On our recent trip to the Western Front we look at this preserved trench and dugout  located in an industrial estate north of Ypres.  Certainly worth popping in to see.

Centenary of the 17th Manchesters Battle of Arras – Heninel 23rd April 1917

Source: Arras, Hindenburg Line – Heninel 23rd April 1917

43365 Robert Ramsey Died of Wounds 18/4/1917. 17th Manchesters transferred from Royal Fusiliers

Commemorating Robert Ramsey who died on this day in 1917.  The CWGC replaced his headstone and his great great nephew provided the updated photo.

Sadly Matt and I both failed to advise CWGC on the date of Robert’s death being April and not March.  Lesson learned to advise CWGC as soon as I see an error.

Source: 43365 Robert Ramsey Died of Wounds 18/4/1917. 17th Manchesters transferred from Royal Fusiliers

Livens Flame Projectors at Breslau Trench

Less than a mile from the Manchester Pals assault on Montauban, this horrific weapon was used on mine trench, near the Carnoy Craters.
“One shot was fired from each gun in No 7 and No 10 saps; the flames reached well over the enemy’s trenches in each case. The moral effect on the enemy undoubtedly was very pronounced, for whom the infantry attack took place, the casualties were very much less in the width of front covered by the flame than in the flanks.

Clouds of black smoke and flame rose a hundred feet into the sky before descending upon the unfortunate Bavarians. It was a horrific death for those German sentries in Mine Trench who were incinerated by these jets of burning oil. Their charred remains were later found.

2nd Lieutenant R.W. Stewart, Royal Engineers, reported that soon after the Livens Flame Projector (here using the German term for these weapons) was deployed, fifty German soldiers immediately surrendered:

The large flammenwerfer on the west of the craters proved a great success and very little resistance was met on that side. Had there been another flammenwerfer on the East, possibly the assaulting party would have been able to get in equally easily.”

Weapons and Warfare

Livens Flame Projector

British objectives for 1 July 1916 with front sector allocated to XV Corps.

The Livens Flame Projector was one of the most horrific weapons of the war, instilling terror and amongst those that faced it. It was deployed along the sector held by the 55th Brigade opposite Breslau Trench. Invented by Captain William Livens from the Royal Engineers these weapons were meant to shake the confidence of and terrorise the enemy. The aim was to keep German troops below the parapets long enough to enable British infantry to cross No Man’s Land and get into their trenches without being fired upon. Livens was in command of a secret unit known as Z Section, Royal Engineers, which focused its energies on designing long-range flamethrowers.

The Livens Flame Projector required seven men to operate and these devices were buried underground in shallow tunnels – Russian saps – where they…

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Happy Valley

Kenneth Callan-Macardle describes the defence and withdrawal from Montauban. He was killed at Trones Wood a few days later.

GM 1914

Today we conclude the blog written by volunteer Chris Prince containing the powerful words of soldier 2nd Lieutenant Kenneth Callan McArdle who was killed in action at the Battle of the Somme.


The concluding part of the journal of Kenneth McArdle.

6th July 1916 continued…

As there was no available dug-out in ‘B’ company’s side (the East) of the village Humphreys, who took over when Vaudrey was killed, had his H.Q. in a shell-hole.

We instructed our men to dig holes for themselves under the parapet of Nord Alley which was about eight feet wide, but first. They had to make fire-steps. The trench soon had many dead and wounded, they called for water but there was none. Those badly wounded called pitiably for stretchers, but eight stretcher bearers had been killed and three of our four stretchers smashed. The M.O. was overwhelmed with work. It was impossible…

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Lord Kitchener’s Parade 21st March 1915

This zoomed scan of a postcard shows the detailed image of the 2nd Manchester Pals as they marched through Cheetham Hill from Heaton Park.  Lord Kitchener, inspected all  of the Manchester City Battalions and other local Regiments at a huge parade held in Albert Square.  The Pals left for Belton Park, Grantham soon after, so this was the opportunity for the proud City to cheer the pomp and ceremony of their Manchester Brigades.

At the head of the Battalion is their Commanding Officer.  Lt Col H A Johnson is striding out in a nonchalant style, he is easily distinguishable by his stature.  Marching beside the C.O. will have been one of the Company Commanders.  This may be Captain Stanley Kenworthy (Killed Montauban See Photo at St Bees ) of C Company, or possibly Captain

Sgt Joseph McMenemy II & III Pln

Sgt and A/CSM Joseph McMenemy KiA 30/7/17

Edward Lloyd (wounded January 1916) of Arthur Bell’s A Company – or is that wishful thinking.  Immediately behind the Officers is a Senior NCO, most likely the Company Sergeant Major.  We then see a Platoon or Section NCO leading four ranks of men.  They are clearly marching at ease with some broad smiles and rifles shouldered in different places.  I wonder if i can see Joseph McMenemy (Two from the cannon’s) in the third rank….

The location is identified as Cheetham Hill in the Book of Honour and it has been found that the shops on the left are King Edward’s Buildings at the southern end of Bury Old Road.  Beyond the bend in the road in the middle ground, is Cheetham Hill Wesleyan Church.  This was closed in 1967 and the site is occupied by retirement flats and a Jewish School.

17th Bttn 21st March 1915

17th Bttn 21st March 1915