CROONAERT, on 04 September 2011 - 09:32 PM, said:
11th Mancs on 16th August 1917... would that be the Cockcroft then? (and another avian reference in the war diary relates to a Lt.Falconer on this day too!)
Well done Dave,
The Cockcroft it is! The 11th Manchesters found The Cockcroft un-occupied on the 16th August but came under fire in front from Bulow Farm and in enfilade from Maison du Hibou to their right, which hadn't been cleared. On the 19th August The Cockcroft and other local strongpoints north of St Julien were taken in a very successful attack by the 1/8th Worcesters supported by tanks of 19 and 20 Companies, G Battalion, 1 Tank Brigade, XVIII Corps.
Later in the autumn, as the front slowly went forward, heavy artillery units set-up position along the Langemarck - Zonnebeke road. William Kingham was a member of 309 Siege Battery (Honourable Artillery Company) RGA, and went on to author "The London Gunners"
- a well written, vivid account of his battery in France and Flanders during 1917 and 1918. During November and December 1917 309 Siege Battery was in position between The Cockcroft and the Leekerboterbekke near Haanixbeek Farm. From mid-November 1917 until early 1918 5 Siege Battery RGA (my grandfather's unit) was located at The Cockcroft; and during December, when the men of 309 Siege Battery went back for rest, one section of 5 Siege Battery took over two of 309 Siege Battery's howitzers and occupied their position. (According to Kingham, after 5 Siege Battery took over the position, conditions became even more bleak due to flooding of the billets and increased shelling of the area.)
Of course, about half a kilometer down the road from The Cockcroft in the direction of Zonnebeke, near the junction where it crosses the St Julien - Poelcappelle road, stands the Canadian Memorial, commonly referred to as 'The Brooding Soldier'.
Your turn I believe........