Author Topic: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill  (Read 10737 times)

Offline PhilipG

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2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« on: July 29, 2017, 12:04:33 PM »
The battalion history in respect of the 2nd Manchesters and their attack of 2nd April 1917 at Francilly-Selency, makes reference to 2nd Lt. Taylor and two platoons of "A" Coy. and their successful attack on the quarry at Manchester Hill.    The account continues.  "These two platoons did not remain here but.........pushed on until brought up short by a huge crater at the outskirts of St.Quentin itself".   In concluding, the account goes on - "...........and remained there until darkness enabled them to withdraw".

Is it known where this "huge crater" on the outskirts of St.Quentin was located, please?   My thoughts suggest that it was the result of a cross roads explosion emanating from the retreat to the Hindenburg Line by the German Army under their scorched earth policy, possibly along the D68?   Despite their message to battalion HQ, no assistance was sent to the beleaguered platoons. PhilipG.

Offline charlie

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2017, 08:14:14 PM »
Philip,
The WD records:
"A Company lost direction and advanced to within 1500 yards of St Quentin and had to remain out until dark"

an appendix further records:

"The Company then passed through the quarry, and after reforming rushed the retreating enemy, but on reaching crater at junction of road S.21.b.8.4. were held up by heavy machine gun fire, from front and right flank. The crater was consolidated and runners sent out to try and get in touch with remainder of the Battalion. This they failed to do, but came across a Company of 15th HLI who directed them to BH2"

The map reference is indicated by the arrow.

Charlie

Offline charlie

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2017, 11:20:39 AM »
Philip,
I think that the map is either not 100% accurate or more accurate due to better technology. Unfortunately a contemporary map is not available. I think the report in the WD refers to the cross roads at the bottom right, which on this map has moved about 100 yards north and west and is more in line with the map reference.

Charlie

Offline PhilipG

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2017, 12:23:46 PM »
Charlie,

Thank you. Will be in touch shortly.  Searching for maps! PhilipG.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2017, 10:11:27 AM »
Charlie,
I think, with your excellent help, I have been able to plot where Lt. Taylor finally reached.   Firstly, it is better to ignore up to date maps as the French have recently altered the road numbers.   So, I have gone back to my IGN 1:25000 map dated 1987.  Immediately it is noticeable that the whole battlefield area has changed since April 1917.  Railways have gone and two motorways now encroach on the former battlegrounds.  Manchester Hill (Maison Rouge) has changed, too.  So from personal memory I write as follows.

If you were to stand on the position marked on your sketch map in brown, at the  tip of the figure 1 of the figure 21, you would, I feel, today be on the D68.  Looking to the road to your left hand you would be looking at the former D683 leading to Francilly Selency and which has now been grassed over.  The dotted line leading to the marked ring on your map suggests it was once a continuation of the D683.  Indeed, it is also marked on my IGN map, too.  I confess I have never noticed before that the  D683 could, at one time, be continued in this way.  (Owing to growing crops).

The road from Etreillers to Savy is designated the D68 and, of course, it still leads to Maison Rouge and beyond.  However, at Savy the D68 has a branch road (unclassified) which eventually leads to the ringed position on your map i.e the crater's position.

On your map the lower half of the vertical line to the right of "The Halte" appears to be a road leading from Maison Rouge to Dallon and the D930.

Sorry to be so long-winded, but I think that we have now got the right position of the crater on today's maps.  Indeed, I have done a recce over the ground with the aid of Google and it all seems to fit in as quoted above. PhilipG.

timberman

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2017, 04:53:48 PM »
Below is the Google map of Manchester Hill
the red line is a continuation of the road from
Francilly-Selency that is on my trench map
and can clearly be seen on the map of 1917
It looks like when the motorway was built
the road was just dug up and used for hardcore
and the land given back to the farmer.

http://themanchesters.org/forum/index.php?topic=7386.0

The blue star marks the cross roads that is marked on
my trench map as having a crater.
Wether or not this relates to the crater in the War Diaries for
the 2nd Bn I don't know.

In 1918 not far from this cross roads was the 16th Battalion
HQ.

Timberman
« Last Edit: August 01, 2017, 05:14:45 PM by timberman »

Offline charlie

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2017, 05:09:01 PM »
Philip and Timberman
Thanks for the interesting explanation of the map.

Charlie

timberman

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2017, 06:17:11 PM »
The map of Manchester Hill in 1917
including the potions of "A"coy.

Click on picture to make it bigger.

Timberman

Offline PhilipG

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2017, 11:39:07 AM »
Timberman,

Thank you very much indeed for your helpful contribution concerning the present location of the crater - "at the outskirts of St. Quentin itself" and is referred to in Charlie's Reply No. 1 and his reply No. 2.    Turning to the photograph, the red line you have so kindly drawn is on the route of the old D683.  The new D683 is on the left of the picture and finally enters Francilly-Selency village which is marked on your photo re the "Ice Cream Shop."   The road running across the bottom of the picture is, of course, the D68.   Maison Rouge (Manchester Hill) is clearly depicted in the bottom left hand corner.   The wooded area adjacent to the new D683, I suggest, now covers an in-filled quarry (Brown Quarry), the scene of Lt. Taylor's bravery. (Reply No. 7).

May I again refer to the photograph and, in particular, to the blue star on the D68.   By coincidence there is a white line running alongside the green field and parallel to the Autoroute.  It is some sort of path, perhaps, and it ultimately leads to the crater location we are seeking.  Charlie has ringed this objective on the map depicted in Reply No. 2.   The dotted line on his sketch entering the ringed area from the left is a branch road diverting off the D68 at Savy which I have mentioned in my Reply No. 4.

In closing, I again thank you, as your maps have augmented a difficult exercise to explain, especially where there is a possibility that the appropriate maps are not always available to Forum members.  I also wish to thank Charlie whose research has enabled the question I originally asked to be so satisfactorily answered.   PhilipG.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2017, 10:43:37 AM »
During the attack on Francilly-Selency on the 2nd April 1917, "C" Coy. of the 2nd Manchesters captured a German 77-MM battery of six guns.   For various reasons, it was ordered that on the night of the 3rd April, Major Lumsden, Royal Marine Artillery and GSO2 of the Division in which the Manchesters were serving should withdraw the guns from No Man's Land, utilising the services of the 15th battalion of the Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regt.).  The success of this enterprise cost the H.L.I. some 30 casualties.

Major Lumsden was awarded the Victoria Cross and promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General, described by the H.L.I. as a "meteoric promotion", one I suspect, not altogether welcomed by Lt.Col. Luxmoore - the 2nd Manchesters' Commanding Officer.

By reference to Reply No. 5 and its photograph, it would seem that the German battery was located very close to the right of the "Ice Cream Shop" indicator in Timberman's picture. PhilipG.

timberman

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2017, 06:41:03 PM »
Captain Glover of  C coy the 2nd Bn Manchester's
after hand to hand fighting with the German gunners
captured 6 x 77mm field guns killing many of the Germans.
Captain Glover was wounded.
The red arrow on the map indicates the position of the guns
and where the fighting took place, (this is what information
I have).
It is the cross roads between Francilly-Selency and Selency.

Also Pte Overton who was a signaler with A coy was
recommended for a Victoria Cross but was awarded a DCM
on the same day. 
Click on the map to make it bigger.

Timberman

timberman

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2017, 06:47:26 PM »
The following picture is from the Graphic depicting
 the battle.

Click on the picture to make it bigger.

Timberman
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 06:49:43 PM by timberman »

timberman

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2017, 09:39:37 PM »
I thought there would of been more casualties on the 2nd
the following are all I could find in my data base?

NESLE COMMUNAL CEMETERY, Somme, France

BANCROFT, Private, NOVELLO, 29390, 2nd Bn., Manchester Regiment. 2 April 1917.
Age 28. Son of Bethany and Sarah Bancroft; husband of Ada Bancroft, of 31, New Earth
St., Oldham. Grave Ref. C. 20.

SAVY BRITISH CEMETERY, Aisne, France

EVEREST, Private, J, 41415, 2nd Bn., Manchester Regiment. 2 April 1917. Grave Ref.
I. E. 3.
FITZGERALD, Corporal, T, 3761, 2nd Bn., Manchester Regiment. 2 April 1917. Age
33. Grave Ref. I. F. 13.
GATELY, Private, JAMES FREDERICK, 2462, 2nd Bn., Manchester Regiment. Killed
in action 2 April 1917. Age 34. Son of William Henry and Isabella Adalaide Gately;
husband of Ann Gately, of 12, Buckley Square, Ardwick Green, Manchester. Grave Ref.
I. B. 8.
GAUKROGER, Second Lieutenant, HUBERT, 1st Bn., Manchester Regiment. 2 April
1917. Age 31. Son of Mr. Young Gaukroger, of Didsbury, Manchester; husband of Eva
Mary Gaukroger, of 14 Lansdown Parade, Cheltenham. Grave Ref. I. Q. 6.
HORROCKS, Private, F, 34635, 2nd Bn., Manchester Regiment. 2 April 1917. Grave
Ref. I. E. 4.
KENT, Company Serjeant Major, E, 1367, M M, "C" Coy. 2nd Bn., Manchester
Regiment. 2 April 1917. Age 26. Son of Mr. and Mrs. E. F. Kent, of London; husband of
Mary Kent, of Mullingar, Co Westmeath. Grave Ref. I. F. 11.

LEYLAND, Private, J W, 37116, 2nd Bn., Manchester Regiment. 2 April 1917. Grave
Ref. I. F. 28.
PIMLOTT, Private, JOHN WORTHINGTON, 48721, 2nd Bn., Manchester Regiment. 2
April 1917. Age 35. Son of John and Elizabeth Pimlott, of Levenshulme, Manchester.
Grave Ref. I. B. 12.
SOLAN, Private, T, 3256, 2nd Bn., Manchester Regiment. 2 April 1917. Grave Ref. I. F.
24.
SOUTHWORTH, Private, FRED, 8885, 2nd Bn., Manchester Regiment. 2 April 1917.
Age 22. Son of David and Minnie Southworth, of 3, Dolphin St., Ardwick, Manchester.
Grave Ref. I. F. 17.
SQUIRES, Serjeant, C F, 41525, 2nd Bn., Manchester Regiment. 2 April 1917. Grave
Ref. I. F. 26.
STREET, Private, ROBERT, 25162, 2nd Bn., Manchester Regiment. 2 April 1917. Age
33. Son of Mrs. Sarah Smith, of Ardwick, Manchester husband of Beatrice Annie
Cooper (formerly Street) of 11, Doris St., Moston, Manchester. Grave Ref. I. F. 25.
TAYLOR, Private, H, 35849, 2nd Bn., Manchester Regiment. 2 April 1917. Grave Ref. I.
E. 3.
TOWERS, Second Lieutenant, WILFRED GOODWIN, 4th Bn., Manchester Regiment.
Killed in action 2 April 1917. Age 19. Son of George James and Lucy Towers, of
Meadow Lodge, Cambridge Park, Twickenham, Middx. Grave Ref. B. 1.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France

GEE, Private, JAMES, 34671, "D" Coy. 2nd Bn., Manchester Regiment. 2 April 1917.
Age 31. Son of Charles and Mary Gee, of 38, Barton St., Moss Side. Manchester. Pier
and Face 13 A and 14 C.
LALLY, Private, JAMES, 27352, 2nd Bn., Manchester Regiment. 2 April 1917. Age 25.
Son of John Lally, of 45, Sandown St., Gorton, Manchester, and the late Bridget A.
Lally. Pier and Face 13 A and 14 C.
YOUNG, Private, DAVID, 5301, 2nd Bn., Manchester Regiment. 2 April 1917. Pier and
Face 13 A and 14 C.

SAVY BRITISH CEMETERY, Aisne, France

WINCH, Second Lieutenant, HARRY WILSON, 2nd London Cyclists, Army Cyclist
Corps. attd. 2nd Bn., Manchester Regiment, Killed in action 2 April 1917. Age 29. Son of
Herbert Morris Winch and Emmeline Winch, of Herne Bay, Kent; husband of Nora
Alberta Winch, of 64, Tweedy Road, Bromley, Kent. Grave Ref. I. F. 18.
 
Timberman

Offline charlie

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2017, 09:58:01 PM »
The WD records:

KiA - 2 Officers, 1 WO and 9 OR
Wounded - 6 Officers and 52 OR

Charlie

Offline PhilipG

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2017, 12:04:43 PM »
Timberman,
Thank you for your Reply No.10 in which you indicate the German battery location.  Your marking locates it alongside the ancient Roman road (St. Quentin to Vermand).  In fact, too, it is close to the road outside the Mairie where the parade in connection with the Manchesters' Memorial took place in 1996.

The battalion history of the 15th H.L.I. covers ten pages relating to their manhandling of the guns. It records: "The facts are that, as well as providing the covering party, the 15th H.L.I. manhandled the guns back to the point at which the horses were stationed and suffered 31 casualties in the entire operation."  Their  accompanying map indicates the battery being south of the village on a spur road running east which was in No Man's Land and opposite the trenches of the H.L.I.'s right-hand company.   I suggest that this position is today marked by the indicator in the vicinity the "Ice Cream Shop".  I should be grateful for your ideas on this subject.

If disposed, I suggest you Google "Francilly Selency Mairie".  The land beyond the car park is the area according to the 15th H.L.I. which was occupied by the 2nd Manchesters.   A little manoeuvring with the mouse will bring up the Roman road and a good view of the battlefield.  I would be interested to learn if you found the Google exercise worthwhile.  PhilipG.