Jump to content


Remembered Today:

Photo

Western Front through the ages


189 replies to this topic

#1 Mat McLachlan

Mat McLachlan

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 661 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sydney, Australia

Posted 07 December 2004 - 11:29 PM

Hi all,

This is a pretty broad topic, but you may be able to help me anyway. We have all seen wartime photos of famous Western Front sites, and can find thousands of modern shots of the same scenes. But I'm interested to know how these sites developed in the intervening years. Do you have photos of Western Front sites taken in post-war years (about 1920s-1980s) that show how these sites have changed over time? This is purely for my own interest - I'm not going to reproduce your shots anywhere.

To start the ball rolling, here's a shot of the Pozieres Windmill site in 1917 and another one taken in 1935 (I've 'borrowed' these from the AWM website but as this is only a private research matter it should be OK).

Interested to see what we come up with.

Cheers,

Mat

Attached Files



#2 Jim Gordon

Jim Gordon

    Captain

  • Old Sweats
  • 307 posts

Posted 08 December 2004 - 05:51 PM

Mat

George Newnes Ltd., Tower House, Southampton Street, Strand, London W.C.2 published a book in 1938 called "The Western Front - Then and Now" It contains about 250 pairs of photographs.

Regards

Jim Gordon

#3 Paul Reed

Paul Reed

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 7,632 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 08 December 2004 - 10:59 PM

I did put some of John Giles' photos here:

http://1914-1918.org...9&hl=john giles

and

http://1914-1918.org...7&hl=john giles

#4 Paul Reed

Paul Reed

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 7,632 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 08 December 2004 - 11:04 PM

I have recently been sorting out some photos for Walking Arras (which comes out in mid-2005) and found the following which will probably be in the book.

The first shows what was left of the Roeux Chemical Works in the early 1980s. The site was overgrown, but pretty much unchanged since 1918. Amonst the rubble, sheep grazed on the odd patches of grass, and there were helmets, bottles and other items.

It all disappeared in the mid-90s when the site was sold and a supermarket and tennis courts were built here... dry.gif

Attached Files



#5 Paul Reed

Paul Reed

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 7,632 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 08 December 2004 - 11:10 PM

This one shows the German MG/command bunker, also at Roeux. This was taken on the same day as the other one (c.1983/4?)

Anyone who knows this site will hardly recognise it; it is now in the middle of a modern housing estate, almost dwarfed by the development. The bunker is now sealed up, but when I took this photo you could get inside, and further more gain access to one part of the Roeux tunnel system. The access to the main part of it was a cafe in the village, but the one time I visited it and got inside, I didn't have a camera... aargh! sad.gif

Hope this is of interest; I have lots more somewhere, but would love to see some other people post them?

Attached Files



#6 Mat McLachlan

Mat McLachlan

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 661 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sydney, Australia

Posted 08 December 2004 - 11:14 PM

Thanks Paul. These are great. Sometimes I can't shake the feeling that I was born about 20 years too late and have missed alot of the good stuff on the Western Front. Your outstanding shots do nothing to ease these concerns!

Mat

#7 andigger

andigger

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,018 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Alexandria, VA

Posted 08 December 2004 - 11:15 PM

Thanks Paul... Of course there are lots of then and now pictures, but I think the personal ones taken by fellow pals are the best.

#8 Paul Reed

Paul Reed

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 7,632 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 08 December 2004 - 11:26 PM

QUOTE (Mat McLachlan @ Wed, 8 Dec 2004 23:14:21 +0000)
Thanks Paul. These are great. Sometimes I can't shake the feeling that I was born about 20 years too late and have missed alot of the good stuff on the Western Front. Your outstanding shots do nothing to ease these concerns!

Well, I was only a teenager when I took these; I was lucky I got out there so early on - but of course just as people now want see a lot of what I have seen over the years, I also missed much that disappeared after WW2 - we just have to make the most of it, I suppose!

#9 Max Poilu

Max Poilu

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweat
  • 2,804 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 08 December 2004 - 11:58 PM

Paul,

The sights you have been able to see that have now disappeared into time make many of us very jealous!

Regarding the book, what sort of area will it cover? My wife's Great Uncle (9th Essex) was killed 17th July 1917 during an attack on the Mound and Long Trench at Infantry Hill to the east of Monchy le Prux.

I obviously have a keen interest in this area and as you will know the ground there is little changed with modern maps matching the lanes exactly, be interested to know if it may feature? smile.gif

#10 Robert Dunlop

Robert Dunlop

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 6,466 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:London, UK

Posted 09 December 2004 - 04:20 AM

Paul

Was the command bunker actually inside the main factory building? Or was it connected in some way? I understand the chemical works proved a tough nut to crack because of the interlinked and strongly built defensive positions.

Robert

#11 Borden Battery

Borden Battery

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweat
  • 1,802 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Regina, Canada
  • Interests:1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade
    Borden Motor Machine Gun Battery
    CEF Study Group

Posted 09 December 2004 - 06:59 AM

If you are interested in some black and white movie films of the parts of the Great War, check out this new site presented by the National Film Board [Canada] ....

http://www.nfb.ca/ww1/


I found some of the film material to be quite illuminating.

#12 Paul Reed

Paul Reed

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 7,632 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 09 December 2004 - 03:27 PM

QUOTE (Giles Poilu @ Wed, 8 Dec 2004 23:58:39 +0000)
Regarding the book, what sort of area will it cover? My wife's Great Uncle (9th Essex) was killed 17th July 1917 during an attack on the Mound and Long Trench at Infantry Hill to the east of Monchy le Preux.

I obviously have a keen interest in this area and as you will know the ground there is little changed with modern maps matching the lanes exactly, be interested to know if it may feature? smile.gif

There is a whole chapter on Monchy, but it mainly covers up to the end of the battle (the publishers were keen that I kept to that time-frame).

As you say, little changed on Infantry Hill - one of the best walks in the book, in terms of the ground. I also have a connection with Monchy; my great uncle was killed with 9th Essex at Rifle Trench in April. Small world, isn't it!

#13 Paul Reed

Paul Reed

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 7,632 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 09 December 2004 - 03:32 PM

QUOTE (Robert Dunlop @ Thu, 9 Dec 2004 04:20:28 +0000)
Paul

Was the command bunker actually inside the main factory building? Or was it connected in some way? I understand the chemical works proved a tough nut to crack because of the interlinked and strongly built defensive positions.

No, it was in the grounds of the Roeux chateau, but it was linked to the Chemical Works. If I remember correctly, one section of the tunnel system went that way, and the other went towards the village.

You are quite right; there were several occasions in which units thought they had captured the feature, only to find Germans popping out of tunnels on their flanks or in the rear. One veteran I knew who fought there said he was his toughest battle of the war.

#14 Simon Bull

Simon Bull

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Departed
  • 1,393 posts

Posted 09 December 2004 - 08:03 PM

Very interesting thread.

Particular thanks to Paul for the photograph of the Roeux Chemical Works site - I believe it to be the area where my grandfather won his Bar to his MM, although it cannot be proved. When I first saw the site it was too late to see anything of the factory.

By the way, I recall reading somewhere that it probably was not a chemical works at all, but some other kind of factory.

#15 KONDOA

KONDOA

    Major-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 3,194 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 09 December 2004 - 08:16 PM

Evening Chums

I have a copy of Then & Now dated 1938. This is more or less village pictures but interesting. If a chum requires a scan of any village page I will do so, bearing in mind the book does not contain a vast resource.

Roop

#16 Paul Reed

Paul Reed

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 7,632 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 10 December 2004 - 04:29 PM

Found a couple more... if I'm boring anyone, let me know.

This is the Dickens Cross near Ginchy, still contained in the original copse and sitting on the original location. This was taken in the early 80s, when Tom Fairgrieve of Delville Wood had directed me to the site. This is the cross that is now in Gincy church.

Attached Files



#17 Paul Reed

Paul Reed

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 7,632 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 10 December 2004 - 04:36 PM

Now to the Salient... this one shows the two memorials to Lt Skrine of the SLI and Lt Bowlby, a cavalry officer. Bowlby was a RHG officer killed on the Frezenberg Ridge on 13th May 1915 and Skrine on the Bellewaarde Ridge diversionary attack on 25th September 1915.

The memorials were placed on the battlefield by the family in the 20s on the spot where each man is assumed to have been killed.

In the mid/late (?) 90s they were moved to a site where they now sit side by side.

Skrine's monument is in the foreground; Bolwby's in the background.

Bowlby's CWGC details:

http://www.cwgc.org/...casualty=910144

Skrine's

http://www.cwgc.org/...casualty=917013

Attached Files



#18 Paul Reed

Paul Reed

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 7,632 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 10 December 2004 - 04:39 PM

This is a close up of Bowlby's memorial, with Railway wood in the background.

There was no fast road to the A19 then; I can remember walking the old railway line across the Frezenberg Ridge, and what a dumping ground it was for shells and old battlefield detritus!

Both these date from around 1986.

Attached Files



#19 andigger

andigger

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,018 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Alexandria, VA

Posted 10 December 2004 - 04:52 PM

QUOTE (Paul Reed @ Fri, 10 Dec 2004 11:29:45 +0000)
... if I'm boring anyone, let me know.

Not a chance!!!

#20 Simon Bull

Simon Bull

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Departed
  • 1,393 posts

Posted 10 December 2004 - 09:15 PM

More please Paul if you have the time.

#21 Paul Reed

Paul Reed

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 7,632 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 10 December 2004 - 10:10 PM

QUOTE (Simon Bull @ Fri, 10 Dec 2004 21:15:35 +0000)
More please Paul if you have the time.

I'll see what I can find; my photos are all over the place, to be honest!

Several other members of the forum also, it seems, were visitors to the battlefields in the 80s or before. It would be nice to see some of their photos, as well?

#22 KONDOA

KONDOA

    Major-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 3,194 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 10 December 2004 - 10:49 PM

[QUOTE]Several other members of the forum also, it seems, were visitors to the battlefields in the 80s or before

Paul,

Ill have a word with Father he may have many from 70's early 80's especially then and nows.

Roop

#23 Paul Reed

Paul Reed

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 7,632 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 11 December 2004 - 09:17 PM

Found a few more. Hope they are of interest?!

These are the bunkers at Fromelles which now form part of the Australian Memorial Park. Long before ABAF and when this was still farmed.

Attached Files



#24 Paul Reed

Paul Reed

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 7,632 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 11 December 2004 - 09:20 PM

From memory, I seem to recall coming across a report of this bunker being ko'd by a direct hit from a 9.2-inch shell in 1918.

Attached Files



#25 Paul Reed

Paul Reed

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 7,632 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 11 December 2004 - 09:22 PM

This is now the farthest bunker from the road in what is the modern memorial park.

Attached Files