The Bay Museum is a friendly museum situated on Canvey Island. Based in a degaussing station, it now offers a wealth of artefacts, books and displays focusing on both local and world military history. Open from 10am till 4pm, the museum also organises trips to France and Belgium to experience the battlefields first hand, as well as helping you research your own family military histories. The museum is run by volunteers who always warmly welcome visitors and are never short of a war story!
THIS SUMMARY IS OF A CONFIDENTIAL NATURE AND MUST NOT BE
TAKEN BEYOND BATTALION OR BATTERY HEADQUARTERS.
XIVTH CORPS INTELLIGENCE SUMMARY.
1. ENEMY ACTIVITY.
Retaliation for our barrage this morning is reported as not having been heavy; a heavy barrage was, however, put down along the line of the STEENBEEK at 4.50 p.m. this afternoon.
Other details of shelling are as follows:-
Areas shelled No of Nature of Ordnance. Group firing.
B.11.c. 15 10.5 cm. Gun )
U.27.c. 50 “ “ )
B.12.a. 100 10.5 & 15 cm. Hows.)
(shrapnel & gas) ) POELCAPPELLE
CORNER and ) Intermittent Big H.V. Gun )
vicinity ) )
U.21.a. Heavily at intervals. 15 cm. How. )
B.22.a. 60 “ “ BROENBEEK.
214th Div. 363 I.R. 2, 7, 8, 9, & 2nd & 3rd M.G. Coys. N. of WIJDENDRIFT.
358 I.R. 9, 10, 11, 12, & 3rd M.G, Coys. N of LANGEMARCK.
50 I.R. 1. 2, 3, 4, 7, & 1st & 2nd M.G. Coys. N of LANGEMARCK.
424th Minenwerfer Company (Prisoners).
79th Res. Division.
261 R.I.R. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 11, 12 & ) S.W. LANGEMARCK (Prisoners).
1st & 2nd M.G. Coys. )
262 R.I.R. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, &) S.W. LANGEMARCK
2nd & 3rd M.G. Coys. ) (Prisoners).
279th Minenwerfer Company (Prisoners).
541st Sanitas Company. (Prisoners).
119th Gren. Regt. 1, 2, 5, 7, 8 Coys. LANGEMARCK. (Prisoners).
184th I.R. 1, 4, 9, 10 Coys. LANGEMARCK. (Prisoners – strayed out of their sector).
3. ORDER OF BATTLE.
The order of battle from north to south is –
46th I.R. – 119th Division
363rd I.R. )
Elements (50th I.R. ) 214th Division.
Elements (261st R.I.R.)
(262nd R.I.R.) 79th Reserve Division.
The order of battle on this front was undergoing a change when our attack took place and the sector held by the 50th I.R. was being taken over by the 358th I.R., which had been withdrawn from the BIXSCHOOTE Sector.
79th Reserve Division.
The 261st R.I.R. and 262nd R.I.R. were found to be occupying the front from the STADEN Railway to the Military Road in U.28.d., while the 263rd R.I.R., which was in process of relief by the 184th I.R. (183rd Division), was holding the sector south of the road.
Men of the 119th Regt. and captured documents belonging to an officer shew that this division is arriving to take over at least part of the 79th Reserve Division’s front.
The prisoners state that they form the advance party of the 119th Regt. and that the regiment was to occupy the sector held by the 262nd R.I.R., 79th Reserve Division.
As these men were to take over the sector immediately south of the STADEN Railway, it is possible that the front formerly held by one regiment of the 79th Res. Division with two battalions in the front line is now to be held by two regiments of the 26th Division.
Statements of men of the 184th I.R., who lost their way and were captured at LANGEMARCK, tend to strengthen the supposition that the enemy intends to thicken his line in this sector.
The 184th I.R. was in process of relieving the 263rd R.I.R., 79th Reserve Division.
The 184th I.R., 183rd Division, was in process of relieving the 263rd R.I.R. this morning.
The 262nd R.I.R. and 261st R.I.R., 79th Res. Division, will probably be relieved to-night (16th/17th inst) by the 119th Regt., 26th Division. It is highly probable that another regiment, either the 121st I.R. or 125th I.R. of this division will move in south of this regiment to-night.
The 358th I.R., 214th Division, was relieved in the BISCHOOTE sector on the 12th inst. and moved into the line immediately north of the STADEN Railway to relieve the 50th I.R. on the night of the 14th/15th instant.
The 26th Division was relieved in the MONCHY-le-PREUX sector on the 25th July.
5. MOVEMENTS OF THE 26TH DIVISION.
The 26th Division was withdrawn from the MONCHY-le-PREUX sector on the 25th July and moved into rest in the LILLE area.
The 119th Regt. rested at LOOS, near LILLE and entrained there on 15th August for ROULERS, via TOURCOING and COURTRAI.
From ROULERS the 2nd Bn. marched to HOOGLEDE, arriving there on the evening of the 15th instant.
The advance party left HOOGLEDE at 9.0 p.m. for the front line, travelling by light railway as far as WESTROOSEBEKE, thence by march route as given in yesterday’s summary under “Routes and Approaches”.
6. ROUTES AND APPROACHES.
Prisoners of the 358th I.R. followed the following route from ONDANK Camp to KOEKUIT:-
ONDANK to P.21.c.70.20., thence south along STADENREKE – VYFWEGEN Road to VYFWEGEN, thence re-crossing railway through P.33., P.32., HOUTHULST Forest to O.36.d., thence south to cross-roads in U.6.d.
7. REST BILLETS.
Prisoners of the 358th I.R. were withdrawn to rest at ONDANK Camp.
Documents shew that the SCHAAP BALIE Camp is still in use.
8 STADEN – ZONNEBEKE LINE.
Prisoners of the 358th I.R. state that the wire on this line in the ONDANK sector was being strengthened by a Labour Battalion on the 13th instant.
They know of no other work being done in this sector and as regards digging it is found to be almost impossible under the present conditions. Their own (the soldier’s) opinion is that they are better off in shell holes than they are in trenches under heavy artillery fire.
YPRES Group – North to south – LANGEMARCK to ST. JULIEN
(Captured document dated 15/8/17)
3rd Bavarian Army Corps …. ISEGHEM. ) Captured documents
(YPRES Group) ) dated
26th Division ….. ….. ARDOYE ) 15th august.
214th Division …. ….. …. GITS … (Prisoner’s statements.)
79th Reserve Brigade ….. ….. Chateau – 20.P.35.c.90.80
11. PIONEER PARK.
Main Pioneer Park ….. GEITE (ST. JOSEPH) – 20.K.32.a.
Pioneer Park ….. …. VYFWEGEN (contains a large amount of wire
entanglements &c. &c.) (Captured documents).
12. AMMUNITION DEPOT.
GEITE (ST. JOSEPH) …. 20.K.32.a. (Captured documents).
The 261st R.I.R. and 262nd R.I.R. were quite demoralised during our attack and fled in batches to the rear, where they undoubtedly fell victims to our artillery fire. The cause for the complete breakdown of the moral is stated by senior N.C.Os to be the unreliability of the 1918 Class, which is well represented throughout the companies and cannot stand heavy shelling.
The men of the 119th Regt. express the greatest contempt for the behaviour of these regiments, who, to use their own words, “flocked to the rear” and made little attempt to defend their positions.
Documents shew that a counter-attack was planned for the night of the 15th/16th inst., to drive us over the STEENBEEK. This did not materialise, owing to the complete exhaustion of these regiments, lack or moral and also our artillery fire.
Prisoners confirm that the civilian population has been evacuated from STADEN.
15 1919 CLASS.
Prisoners state that the 1919 Class was called up in the II Corps District in the beginning of June.
16. Statement of prisoners passed through the Advanced Corps Cage during the past 24 hours:-
Officers. Other Ranks. Companies.
50th Inf. Regt. 2 36 1,2,3,4,7,1st &
2nd M.G. Coys.
363rd “ “ 1 35 2,7,8,9, 2nd & 3rd
358th “ “ 3 187 9,10,11,12, & 3rd
424th Minenwerfer Coy. – 5
79th Reserve Division.
261st R.I.R. 3 141 1,2,3,4,5,7,11,
12, 1st and 2nd
262nd “ 9 106 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,
10,11,12, & 2nd & 3rd M.G. Coys.
541st Sanitas Coy. – 1
279th Minenwerfer Coy. – 5
119th Gren. Regt. – 14 1,2,5,7,8 Coys.
183rd Inf. Regt. – 6 1,4,9,10 Coys.
Total 18 officers, 536 other ranks.
In addition, the following have been admitted to Casualty Clearing Station:-
Officers. Other ranks.
17. CAPTURED MATERIAL.
One 5.9” Howitzer.
Two 4.2” Howitzers
Ten Machine Guns.
General Staff, XIV Corps.
16th August, 1917.
PART II – INFORMATION FROM OTHER SOURCES.
(From Fifth Army Summary of 16/8/17)
GERMAN ARTILLERY METHODS. (Communicated by the Army on our left).
I. Relation borne by number of battery emplacements to the actual number of batteries.
Prisoners’ statements, which are confirmed by documents captured in an artillery command post, show that in August, 1916, in the YPRES sector there were four times as many emplacements as there were batteries. On the 1st June, 1917, there was an average of three emplacements available for each battery.
Owing to the great number of emplacements available the enemy is able to
(a) Move batteries from their normal emplacements in case of need to emplacements already prepared.
(b) In case of a retirement move batteries to a prepared position in rear.
(c) Provide prepared emplacements for reinforcing batteries.
On the 28th August, 1916, there were 32 emplacements available for seven batteries in the KORTEKEER area. Each battery had four emplacements.
(1) Normal emplacement (FEUERSTELLUNG).
(2) Alternative emplacement (AUSWEICHSTELLUNG).
(3) Normal rear emplacement (RUCKWARTIGE HAUPSTELLUNG).
(4) Alternative rear emplacement (RUCKWARTIGE AUSWEICHSTELLUNG).
The seven batteries included,
2 batteries 7.7 cm.
2 batteries 8.8 cm.
1 battery 10 cm.
1 battery 10.5 cm.
1 battery Russian howitzers.
A captured order dated 1st June 1917 states:-
To all batteries:-
All batteries will send a sketch 1/20,000 showing:-
(i) Battery emplacement.
(ii) Alternative emplacement.
(iii) Reinforcing emplacement (VERSTARKUNGSTELLUNG).
These sketches will show the principle and alternative observation posts and the nearest available observation post.
II. Provisional emplacements.
The following order shows that the enemy at times moves sections into provisional emplacements, with a view to attracting the enemy’s attention, so that another battery whose position has probably not been discovered can carry out effective fire.
The 8th Battery of the 23rd Artillery Regiment will move a section into emplacement No. 104 (a). This section will take 400 rounds with it. The intention is that this section shall distract the enemy’s attention from the 1st Battery of the 29th Artillery Regiment which will carry out effective fire, probably on Battery R 43.
Prisoners have stated on several occasions that the enemy brings batteries forward at night to fire on our front lines and withdraws them to rearward positions as soon as they have finished shooting.
MESSAGES AND SIGNALS
To 20th Div.
Senders Number Day of Month In reply to Number
G137 16 ————
The Corps Commander most heartily thanks the 20th and 29th Divs and all the artillery for the complete success gained today AAA He particularly congratulates all the fighting troops on their determination to overcome all difficulties of mud and water as well as the opposition of the enemy AAA Adds 20 and 29 Divs 14 Corps H.A. G.O.C. R.A.
Gerald Benham’s notes from diaries
15 August 1918 In reserve line – grand day at St Omer (lorry jumping)
INDEX OF GERMAN NAMES.
German Name. English Name. Co-ordinate.
ALEXANDER PLATZ Dugout C.23.d.15.18
ARTILLERIE HOF RAT FARM C.23.b.95.20.
ASPERNSTRASSE CAMEROON DRIVE C.30.a.b. etc.
BLUCHER BANK FARM C.24.b.30.58.
DOKTORGUT JASPER FARM C.29.b.45.75.
DIE VANHEULE NORD VANHEULE FARM C.17.d.15.60.
FLIEGERGUT UHLAN FARM C.29.b.5.5.
FLUGZEUGGUT JASPER FARM C.29.b.45.75
GARTENHOF POMMERN CASTLE D.19.a.35.18.
GRAF HASELER SPREE FARM C.18.d.15.34.
HASELER WINE HOUSE C.18.c.78.96.
HASELER STELLUNG CAPRICORN TR. C.18.c & d
HOHE 28 PLUM FARM C.24.c.63.37.
KAISER WILHELM PLATZ UHLAN FARM C.29.b.5.5.
KASERNE II POND FARM KEEP C.18.b.7.0.
KASERNE III CAPRICORN KEEP C.18.d.57.63.
MARJENHUTTE IBERIAN D.19.b.20.15.
OSTL WASSERGUT SQUARE FARM C.30.b.85.90.
PFINGSTMORGENGUT BANK FARM C.24.b.30.58.
REGIMENTSGUT BRIDGE HOUSE C.24.a.35.60.
SCHUBERT STRASSE CAMBRAI & C.23.c. &
CAPTAIN AVENUES C.24.a. & b.
VANHEULE SUD CHEDDAR VILLA C.17.c.73.00.
WIESENGUT SOMME D.13.c.47.30.
YPERN STELLUNG Trenches S. of
WURST FARM D.7.d.d.
MOVEMENT OF THE BARRAGE. ZERO +
Barrage opens on front line between TU at 0 hr 0 min.
It lifts from line TU at 0 hrs 6 min
Jumping forward 100 yds every 4 min until 0 hrs 42 min
It reaches line AB at
It remains on the line AB at a reduced rate of 1 hr 15 min
When it increases its rate of fire, and at 1 hr 23 min
It leaves the line AB jumping forward 100 yds
Every 4 mins until it reaches the line CD at 1 hr 59 min
It then pivots on C until it reaches the line
COKEF at 2 hrs 15 min
It leaves the line COKEF and searches forwards
At a reduced rate of fire at 2 hrs 35 min.
It comes back to the line COKEF at 3 hrs 53 min
And increases in volume.
That part of the barrage between O &
C pivots on O at 4 hrs 1 min
Until it reaches the line GOKEF at 4 hrs 13 min
Where it remains until 4 hrs 23 min
when it again searches
forward at a reduced rate of fire.
The barrage reopens on the line GOKEF
intensely at 6 hrs 20 min
and moves forward to the line GKEF which
it reaches at 6 hrs 24 min
It leaves the line GKEF at 6 hrs 28 min
& lifts forward 100 yds every 4 mins until it
reaches the line YZ at 7 hrs 28 min
where it remains until 8 hrs 20 min
where it ceases.
Gerald Benham’s notes from diaries
14 August 1916. On leave at Bournemouth with Maz
After an enforced absence of some 4 months, I find myself again with the Division which I have already had the honour of commanding for over a year.
At the present time I consider myself particularly fortunate to be once more with the troops I know and trust so well.
There is no doubt in my mind that the hard work which all ranks have put in during the past 3 weeks – more often than not under heavy fire – will be crowned in a few days with as memorable a success as we achieved at GUILLEMONT last Autumn. No praise can be too great for what the Artillery, Engineers, Machine-Gun Corps, and Pioneers have accomplished since the Division came to Belgium; and the same applies to the work of the Signal, Supply and Medical Services.
The gallant forcing of the STEENBEEK by the 59th Infantry Brigade today, in the teeth of severe opposition, has paved the way for the forthcoming attack by the 60th and 61st Infantry Brigades.
The spirit and determination that has been shown by everyone will, I am sure, in a very short time be rewarded, and the fame of the Division still further enhanced, by the capture of LANGEMARCK.
I feel I am amongst old friends once more.
W. Douglas Smith Major General,
Commanding 20th Division
14th August 1917
Dick-Cunyngham letter to wife dated 11 Aug 1914
On headed notepaper
Twin screw steamer S.S. Caledonia.
My darling one,
We are all aboard – after all the advance party went away earlier at 3.30 & here we are – a good big ship – food & all luxuries aboard – au revoir my darling
With black edged envelope addressed to Mrs Dick Cunyngham, Mount View, Crownhill S.O., S. Devon. Postmarked Southampton 11 p.m. Aug 14 14.