michaeldr, on 12 November 2010 - 01:49 PM, said:
Are you saying that the building in Steve's photograph is the same as that in John's?
No. I think this all an educated guess with descending levels of certainty. The thing I feel most comfortable with is the skyline of the second 1915 photo in that it is looking at Hill112 and the W Hills and the line that you pointed out. After that, trying to pin down the building and then the location of the viewpoint becomes much more difficult. As outlined above, if we are agreed on the skyline, then the choices for the building are very limited indeed. To get a photo with that skyline, Dead Man's Gully and ANY building in is extremely difficult. That is the basis of my approach - a process of elimination. What CAN'T it be rather than what it can. Not the most robust approach I would admit.
The maps give me some degree of comfort that we are barking up the right tree (or should that be gully?). The 1:10,000 British maps are reasonably accurate (I have studied these in detail for a few years) and they compare well with sketch maps. The most important factor is that 95% of the field boundaries are almost exactly
the same as they are today. It is well understood by archaeologists and historians that in rural areas, boundaries often stay in place for hundreds of years. This is the case in the Suvla plain. When we 'fit' the1915 maps to the ground it becomes immediately apparent.The two images below graphically illustrate this - look at the very distinctive Christmas cracker shaped field just left of centre. Bang! Even with some optical distortion and allowing for some draftsmanship error, it is clear where boundaries have remained the same. We are also helped by the fact that in the Suvla plain, most trenches followed field boundaries. As an extension of this, the location of the very few buildings recorded in these maps is fairly certain e.g. Owl's Barn, White House etc. Given the small number of buildings there is a very high probability that we have the right locations for the named buildings - there is little chance of confusing two buildings on the maps.
What I am unsure of is how all the above relates to one or two very grainy photos. Personally I don't see any visual link between the two buildings. I have seen photos from other Yeomanry regiments showing men in trenches (usually quite shallow ones) at Suvla and often with trees in the background. I have not seen any photos with exact dates, and short of the landing photos and the advance across Suvla plain where we can be sure of the date(s) it becomes increasingly difficult to be certain of the exact location. I have seen no Suvla trench photos that can be pinpointed to an exact spot. other than "Fig Tree" or the reverse slopes of "Chocolate Hill" (a very big area) This is understandable given the flat and rather monotonous patchwork landscape in the flat plain. The most useful indicators are the written accounts and the very few sketch maps in the War Diary packets. Sadly in Suvla plain we don't have the dramatic landscape that we have in, say, ANZAC to act as useful reference points.
There is one glimmer of hope. The Derby Museum recently uncovered hundreds of photos of the Derbyshire Yeomanry in WWI (including Gallipoli) I am scheduled to trawl through these in a few week's time. The DY operated in this area throughout Aug-Oct and these photos have not been seen in 50 years. Fingers crossed, we might yet get some more pointers.
As an aside, is there anyone who acts as a repository of Gallipoli photos? This is the area where I have been most frustrated in my own research. MG