AROUND ST QUENTIN –
BATTLEFIELDS OF THE KAISER’S BATTLE
Manchester Hill 2005
Background – Following the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line in the Spring of 1917, the British Army moved into the sector around St Quentin in April. During this period there were many small unit actions among the villages while the new British line was established. Among those in the area at this time were War Poets Ivor Gurney (serving with 2/5th Gloucesters) and Wilfred Owen (2nd Manchesters). A final line was formalised in an arc around St Quentin and it differed from the rest of the British front in that it wasn’t always a continuous line of trenches – there were many outposts, gaps in the line and large areas of disputed territory. During the winter of 1917/18 the positions in this part of the British sector were vastly improved, revolving around ‘defence in depth’ – an outer battle zone, a redoubt line and a rear line. While most of the redoubts were complete by March 1918, the rear zone was still under construction. At the same time, the British Army had undergone a drastic reorganisation, largely due to the fact that reinforcements were being withheld in England. Whereas a British infantry division had once consisted of twelve battalions, it was now reduced to nine – three to each Brigade (as opposed to four). Given that some battalions, due to battle losses and sickness during the cold winter months, were down to below 500 men, the whole idea of defence in depth was now an anathema. With British intelligence sure that a German offensive was coming, this was the situation General Sir Hubert Gough’s Fifth Army found itself in by mid-March 1918. The German attack came on the morning of 21st March 1918: mass infantry attacks preceded by heavy bombardments, gas and infiltration troops (better known as ‘Stormtroopers’). Most forward positions were completely overwhelmed, but many of the redoubts held out – inflicting heavy losses on the Germans. By the close of the day the Germans had broken through on a large front – all along the sector held by Fifth Army. The offensive was to continue until it finally broke at Villers-Bretonneux and north of Albert in April 1918. By this time both sides had lost on average more than 11,000 men each per day of the offensive. More than 72,000 British soldiers had been taken prisoner, over 50,000 of that number in the first week alone.
The Tour – The tour will look at some selected sites around St Quentin connected with the actions of 21st March 1918. It can easily completed in a day, and presumes you will probably be based in the Somme area (although there are many places to stay around St Quentin). Coming from the Somme the best route is to pass through Peronne to reach the Amiens-St Quentin Road (RN.29) on the D.937. It takes about 45 minutes from the Albert area to reach this part of the battlefield. This is not a comprehensive guide to the area, but is designed to give you a flavour of this often neglected part of the Western Front. It also presumes you will have a packed lunch with you, rather than waste time seeking out a local restaurant or café.
– APPROACH THE BATTLEFIELD VIA PERONNE ON THE D.937. WHERE IT REACHES THE
AMIENS-ST QUENTIN ROAD (RN.29) GO STRAIGHT ACROSS FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS FOR
‘HAM’. STAY ON THE D.937 TO HAM. IN THE TOWN GO STRAIGHT THROUGH, FOLLOWING
SIGNS FOR ‘NOYON’. AS YOU EXIT HAM, A FEW HUNDRED YARDS ON THE LEFT IS A
CWGC SIGN – FOLLOW TO THE MILITARY CEMETERY.
1: HAM BRITISH CEMETERY. Ham was occupied
by the British in April 1917, and became a staging post for British divisions in
the area. There were rest billets here, a Casualty Clearing Station (61st
South Midland CCS RAMC), reserve depots and a railhead linked back to Amiens and
Peronne. It had been under German occupation prior to this, and the German
cemetery you have now reached was started by them in 1914.
HAM BRITISH CEMETERY is 500 yards South of Ham railway station, in the neighbouring commune of Muille-Villette. It began in January-March, 1918, as an extension of Muille-Villette German Cemetery, made by the Casualty Clearing Station. In 1919 these graves were regrouped and others were added from the German Cemetery and from other burial grounds. The cemetery now contains the graves of 462 soldiers from the United Kingdom, of whom 217 are unidentified. Special memorials are erected to 14 soldiers, believed to be buried in unnamed graves, and other special memorials record the names of thirty United Kingdom soldiers, buried in other cemeteries, whose graves were not found. MUILLE-VILLETTE GERMAN CEMETERY adjoins the West side of the British Cemetery. It now contains the graves of 1,113 identified and 420 unidentified German soldiers.
Among the burials is Lieutenant Colonel J.R.Macalpine Downie who was killed on 21st March while commanding 1/8th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders of 61st (South Midland) Division. During the fighting he had left his reserve headquarters dugout and was mortally wounded by shell fire while visiting the forward positions. A big man, it took four of the strongest stretcher-bearers to evacuate Macalpine Downie to the CCS at Ham where he died.
– RETURN TO HAM TOWN CENTRE, THIS TIME FOLLOW SIGNS FOR ST QUENTIN. YOU WILL
EXIT HAM ON THE D.930. STAY ON THIS ROAD UNTIL YOU REACH THE VILLAGE OF ROUPY.
HERE TURN LEFT FOR ‘SAVY’. ON APPROACHING SAVY, YOU WILL ARRIVE AT SAVY
BRITISH CEMETERY ON THE LEFT.
STAND 2: SAVY BRITISH CEMETERY. Savy was captured by units of the 32nd Division in April 1917, and the front line established to the east of the village. Wilfred Owen was here with the 2nd Manchesters at this time, and spent a few days in a railway cutting at Savy Wood.
SAVY BRITISH CEMETERY was made in 1919, and the graves from the battlefields and small cemeteries in the neighbourhood were concentrated into it. There are now over 850, Great War casualties commemorated at this site. Of these, more than half are unidentified. Memorials are erected in the cemetery to 68 soldiers (chiefly of the 19th King's Liverpools and the 17th Manchesters), buried by the Germans in their cemetery on the St. Quentin-Roupy road, whose graves were destroyed by shell fire. The following were among the burial grounds from which British graves were removed to Savy British Cemetery:- DALLON GERMAN CEMETERY, North-West of the village of Dallon, containing the graves of 21 British soldiers who fell in March 1918. INNISKILLINGS CEMETERY, DALLON, on the South side of a small wood, North of the St. Quentin-Savy road. Here the 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, in April 1917, buried 17 of their number, three other British soldiers and one French Interpreter. LANCASHIRE CEMETERY, on the East side of SAVY WOOD, made by the 16th Lancashire Fusiliers in April 1917, and containing the graves of 27 men of the 15th and 16th Lancashire Fusiliers and nine other British soldiers. ST. QUENTIN-ROUPY ROAD GERMAN CEMETERY, at L'Epine-de-Dallon, which contained the graves of 232 British soldiers who fell in March 1918. SAVY COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, made in April 1917 and containing 14 British graves. SAVY MILITARY CEMETERY, close to Savy Church. It was made in April and May 1917 by the 97th Brigade and other units, and it contained 39 British graves. SAVY WOOD NORTH CEMETERY, at the North-West corner of Savy Wood, by the railway line. It was made by the 32nd Division in April and May 1917, and it contained 44 British graves.
While Wilfred Owen was at Savy Wood, he witnessed the death of a fellow officer who is buried here: Second Lieutenant H.Gaukroger was killed on 2nd April 1917. Of the March 1918 burials, Lieutenant Colonel A.F.C.Machlachlan CMG DSO & Bar, is the most senior. A veteran of the Boer War, his first DSO was for bravery with the 3rd KRRC at Tugela Heights where he was also wounded. In 1914 he fought with the 1st Bn and was wounded at the Aisne in September. He later commanded the 13th Middlesex Regt in Salonika, before being invalided home in the summer of 1917. In February 1918 he went to command 12th Rifle Brigade, and had been with them only a short while before being killed at Fluquières on 22nd March. An old Etonian, he was one of four brothers killed while serving with the KRRC or Rifle Brigade – two in India before the Great War, and another on the Western Front in 1917.
– LEAVE THE CEMETERY AND PASS THROUGH SAVY VILLAGE., ON A MINOR ROAD (D.68).
YOU WILL PASS THE AREA OF SAVY WOOD ON THE LEFT, AND ARRIVE AT A ROAD JUNCTION
WITH ANOTHER MINOR ROAD TO YOUR RIGHT. ON THE LEFT IS THE ENTANCE TO A QUARRY
AND SOME MODERN HOUSES. STOP HERE.
STAND 3: MANCHESTER HILL. Manchester Redoubt was created during the winter of 1917/18, the hill being named after 2nd Manchesters (Wilfred Owen) who captured the position in April 1917. It was a high piece of ground that afforded good views towards the German front line and St Quentin itself. On the morning of 21st March it was defended by elements of the 16th Manchesters of 30th Division, along with units from the 30th Bn MGC and brigade trench mortar battery. The Manchesters were commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Wilfrith Elstob DSO MC. Elstob had been commissioned from the ranks in 1914, and had fought on the Somme, at Arras and Ypres. Considered a brave and well respected officer – he had been awarded the DSO and MC for bravery – his orders for the defence of the position included the phrase “The Manchester Regiment will defend Manchester Hill to the last”. When the attack began he had a company of men in the forward zone, a company in the nearby village of Francilly Selency and the rest of his men in the redoubt, where his headquarters were also located. The fog blocked the view from Manchester Hill, and the Germans were able to infiltrate the other positions held by the battalion. The redoubt held on until a strong German attack following the arrival of field artillery pieces. Elstob was reputedly killed after declining the offer to surrender, and despite a search for his body, it was never found – he is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial. His VC citation reads:
"For most conspicuous bravery, devotion to duty and self-sacrifice during operations at Manchester Redoubt, near St. Quentin, on the 21st March, 1918. During the preliminary bombardment he encouraged his men in the posts in the Redoubt by frequent visits, and when repeated attacks developed controlled the defence at the points threatened, giving personal support with revolver, rifle and bombs. Single-handed he repulsed one bombing assault driving back the enemy and inflicting severe casualties. Later, when ammunition was required, he made several journeys under severe fire in order to replenish the supply. Throughout the day Lieutenant-Colonel Elstob, although twice wounded, showed the most fearless disregard of his own safety, and by his encouragement and noble example inspired his command to the fullest degree. The Manchester Redoubt was surrounded in the first wave of the enemy attack, but by means of the buried cable Lieutenant-Colonel Elstob was able to assure his Brigade Commander that "The Manchester Regiment will defend Manchester Hill to the last." Sometime after this post was overcome by vastly superior forces, and this very gallant officer was killed in the final assault, having maintained to the end the duty which he had impressed on his men - namely, "Here we fight, and here we die." He set throughout the highest example of valour, determination, endurance and fine soldierly bearing."
Today the quarry that
formed part of the Manchester Redoubt is still there, although somewhat larger
than in 1918. The hill is still intact, and despite the recent arrival of a new
motorway link from Amiens to St Quentin which seemed to put the position under
threat, the fields are well away from the new development. Parking on the D.68
near the modern entrance to the quarry (private ground to which there is no
public access), if you walk along the edge of the field that borders the rough
scrub of the quarry it will take you to the crest of Manchester Hill. The very
crest is now (January 2001) covered with a rough grass field on one corner of
which was once located the artillery observation post in the middle of the
redoubt. The concrete structure Martin Middlebrook saw in 1976 has either been
buried or removed, although the fields are still covered with shrapnel. Remember
this is private property, and respect for crops and the usual farming activities
should be obvious to most visitors. Among the scrub by the quarry is what
appears to be the remains of a trench, which is rapidly filling with brambles. A
most poignant location.
– CONTINUE ALONG THE D.68 FOR A VERY SHORT WAY, AND THEN TURN LEFT ON THE
D.683 FOLLOWING SIGNS FOR ‘FRANCILLY SELENCY’. MAKE YOUR WAY TO THE VILLAGE
STAND 4: MANCHESTER PALS MEMORIAL. This new memorial was placed here a few years ago by members of the Lancashire and Cheshire Branch of the WFA. Originally it was intended to place it on Manchester Hill, but fearful of the motorway extension it was decided to put it here. The memorial not only commemorates Elstob’s 16th Bn, but the other Manchester Pals battalions who were here on 21st March.
– RETRACE YOUR STEPS TO MANCHESTER HILL, AND RETAKE THE D.68 TOWARDS SAVY. AT
THE HILL TURN LEFT ON A MINOR ROAD GOING SOUTH TO WHERE IT MEETS THE MAIN ROAD
STAND 5: EPINE DE DALLON REDOUBT. This junction, along with the nearby houses, is known on French maps as Epine de Dallon. There were similar farm buildings and cottages here in 1918, which formed part of the Epine de Dallon Redoubt. This guarded the main road from St Quentin to Ham. On 21st March the 2nd Wiltshires (also 30th Division) were defending this position, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel A.V.P.Martin. On the right flank of Manchester Hill, if there had been no fog then the two would have been able to provide mutual fire support. A ‘recce’ patrol went out from this redoubt on the morning of the 21st, but was never seen again. When the main attack came Martin and his men held on for some time. By 1.30pm Martin only had fifty men left, and later that afternoon no further word was received from the redoubt. It had finally been overwhelmed, with Martin and the survivors all being taken prisoner – eleven other officers among them. For his bravery that day Lieutenant Colonel Martin was awarded the DSO. ‘Soldiers Died’ records 3 officers and 93 Other Ranks killed on this day.
– FOLLOW THE D.930 WEST IN THE DIRECTION OF HAM. AT THE MAIN CROSSROADS IN
ROUPY, TURN LEFT ON THE D.72 SIGNPOSTED ‘SERAUCOURT LE GRAND’. IN THE
VILLAGE FOLLOW THE CWGC SIGN AT THE CHURCH WHICH WILL TAKE YOU UP A SIDE ROAD TO
THE MILITARY CEMETERY.
STAND 6: GRAND-SERAUCOURT BRITISH CEMETERY. This large cemetery is arguably one of the most important 21st March cemeteries in the area, despite the fact that the majority of graves are ‘unknowns’. However in many cases these unknowns are identified by regiment, and also rank, and it is possible to build up a picture of the units that are represented here. The village of Seraucourt le Grand was behind the British front line on 21st March and was in the 36th (Ulster) Division sector. Near to the location of the modern cemetery were two redoubts: Gunner Copse Redoubt and Station Redoubt which were in the Battle Zone Area. The area fell to the Germans on the first day of the offensive.
GRAND-SERAUCOURT BRITISH CEMETERY is on the East side of the village and was made in 1920-26 by the concentration of graves from the battlefields around St Quentin, and from other burial grounds in the department of the Aisne. It contains the graves of 1,323 soldiers and airmen from the United Kingdom and two Canadian soldiers; the majority fell in March 1918; 881, or almost two-thirds, are unidentified. Special Memorials are erected to two soldiers from the United Kingdom, known or believed to be buried here as unidentified; and other Special Memorials record the names of 32 United Kingdom soldiers, buried by the enemy, whose graves could not be found. In Plots III, IV and V are many graves, identified collectively but not individually, which are marked by headstones inscribed: "Buried near this spot". The British Cemetery stands on high ground, seven feet above the road in undulating agricultural country, but with woods to the North and West. The Registers record particulars of one War Grave in the Communal Cemetery and 1,357, existing or commemorated, in the British Cemetery.
The following is a list, with some brief particulars, of the burial grounds from which British graves were taken to Grand-Seraucourt British Cemetery:- ALAINCOURT GERMAN CEMETERY. BENAY MILITARY CEMETERY (3 British, February and March, 1918). CHEVRESIS-MONCEAU COMMUNAL CEMETERY (116 German; 40 French; 3 British, March and April, 1918). CILLY GERMAN CEMETERY (6 British, September, 1918). CLASTRES NEW FRENCH MILITARY CEMETERY (14 British, February and March, 1918). CUGNY MILITARY CEMETERIES (Aisne, near Ham; the 2nd R. Irish Rifles held out and were annihilated here 24th March, 1918); used by British and Germans, and containing 88 British graves of February-June, 1918. DURY CHURCHYARD (Aisne; 5 British, March, 1918). ESSIGNY-LE-GRAND GERMAN CEMETERY (200 German and 99 British, March and April, 1918, largely Ulster Division). FONTAINE-NORTE DAME GERMAN CEMETERY (Aisne, 900 Germans; 12 French; 2 British, March, 1918). FONTAINE-UTERTE COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION (500 German; 23 British, March 1917-March, 1918). GRUGIES COMMUNAL CEMETERY (2 British, January, 1918). HIRSON COMMUNAL CEMETERY FRENCH and GERMAN EXTENSION (14 British, December 1917-October, 1918). LESDINS FRENCH MILITARY CEMETERY (4 British, September, 1918). MARCY CHATEAU GERMAN CEMETERY (2 British, September, 1918). MARBLES COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION (17 British, April-October, 1918, besides French, Italian, Russian and Germans). MENNEVRET COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION (312 British, August, 1914, March, October and November, 1918). MEZIERES-SUR-OISE GERMAN CEMETERY (200 German, 24 French, (British). MONCEAU-LES-LEUPS GERMAN CEMETERY (1 British, February, 1918). MONCHY-LAGACHE CHURCHYARD (4 British, May, 1917 and September, 1918). NOUVION-ET-CATILLON COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION (13 British, February-August, 1918). ORIGNY-EN-THIERACHE COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION (200 German; 13 French; one American; one British, October, 1914). REMIGNY FRENCH MILITARY CEMETERY (33 French; 13 British, February and March, 1918). ST. MICHEL COMMUNAL CEMETERY GERMAN EXTENSION (Aisne; 132 German; 23 French; 6 British, August-October, 1918). SEBONCOURT FRENCH MILITARY CEMETERY (99 French; 1 British, October, 1918). SERAUCOURT-LE-GRAND COMMUNAL CEMETERY FRENCH EXTENSION (13 British, February and March, 1918). VERVINS GERMAN CEMETERY (390 German; 20 Italian; 15 French; 7 British, May-September, 1918).
There are a large number of RFC and RAF graves here. Of the March 1918 ‘unknowns’ it is possible to discern a 7th Rifle Brigade plot in Plot 4 Row H, and Plots 7 and 8, both rows A. This unit was completely wiped out near Essigny le Grand on 21st March, with the commanding officer (Lieutenant Colonel Sloggett) and nineteen other officers taken prisoner, with over 500 other casualties. Four unknown officers of the 8th Royal Berkshires killed near Moy are in Plot 3, Row A. There are also a number of 1914 casualties from the Aisne battlefields buried here – their bodies moved some considerable distance from isolated locations in the 1920s.
– LEAVE THE CEMETERY AND JOIN THE ROAD FROM SERAUCOURT LE GRAND TO ESSIGNY LE
GRAND. FOLLOW INTO THE VILLAGE AND TURN RIGHT ON THE D.8. CONTINUE A COUPLE OF
HUNDRED YARDS, AND STOP AT A CAFÉ ON THE LEFT HAND SIDE OF THE MAIN STREET.
STAND 7: LE MEMORIAL CAFÉ, ESSIGNY LE GRAND. This excellent – and almost unknown – café/museum at Essigny is run by a French Great War enthusiast who has turned one part of the building into a private museum. There is a large amount of Great War material on display which relates to the military history of the region, and the café owner is very knowledgeable on the Hindenburg Line battlefields – as well as the further away Verdun area where he worked on bomb disposal during his National Service. A superb place for an afternoon drink, he also does lunches and evening meals in his restaurant. Contact: Le Memorial, 1 rue des Marronniers, 02690 ESSIGNY-LE-GRAND. Tel: 03.23.63.38.16.
Essigny-le-Grand was in the 14th (Light) Division area on 21st March, and was defended by units of the Rifle Brigade and KRRC. The railway line that ran from the village to St Quentin was cut by a large redoubt north of the village, called Racecourse Redoubt. It was here that Lieutenant Edmund de Wind of 15th Royal Irish Rifles of 36th (Ulster) Division, was awarded a posthumous VC for his defence of the position on 21st March. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial.
– RETRACE YOUR STEPS TO SERAUCOURT LE GRAND AND THE CROSSROADS AT ROUPY ON THE
D.930. HERE CONTINUE ON THE D.32, UNTIL YOU REACH AN AREA OF A WOODED CHATEAU ON
THE LEFT OF THE ROAD. STOP HERE BRIEFLY.
STAND 8: CHATEAU DE POMMERY – GOODMAN REDOUBT. The ruins of Chateau de Pommery (which had been blown up by the Germans) fell to the 2nd Manchesters in April 1917. A redoubt was latered constructed around the ruins of the building, being named Goodman Redoubt after Brigadier General G.D.Goodman of 21st Brigade, 30th Division. On 21st March it was defended by 17th Manchesters, sister battalion of Elstob’s 16th. The redoubt did not come under attack until the 22nd March, and after heavy fighting the position was eventually overrun, with only around 100 men answering the roll call after the action. Seven officers were taken prisoner here, and at least two officers and 73 Other Ranks were killed according to ‘Soldiers Died’.
– CONTINUE ALONG THE D.32 AND THEN TURN RIGHT AT THE NEXT JUNCTION FOR
ETREILLERS. GO THROUGH THE VILLAGE FOLLOWING SIGNS FOR ATTILLY. HERE CONTINUE
FOR MARTEVILLE AND VERMAND. GO THROUGH VERMAND TO THE RN.29 MAIN ROAD. GO RIGHT
(EAST) TOWARDS ST QUENTIN, AND THEN TURN LEFT ON THE D.33 (IT IS SIGNPOSTED FOR
THE AMERICAN CEMETERY AT BONY) GOING THROUGH BIHECOURT TO VADENCOURT.
STAND 9: VADENCOURT BRITISH CEMETERY, MAISSEMY. No visit to the area is complete without seeing the grave of Jack Dimmer VC who is buried here.
Maissemy passed into British hands in 1917. It was captured by the Germans on the 21st March 1918, in spite of a strong resistance by elements of the 24th Division and the 2/4th Royal Berks, and retaken by the 1st Division on the following 15th September. At the beginning of October, the IX Corps Main Dressing Station was at Vadencourt.
CEMETERY (called at first Vadencourt New British Cemetery) was begun in August,
1917, by fighting units, and used until March 1918; and in October and November
1918, it was used by the 5th, 47th and 61st Casualty Clearing Stations (at
Bihecourt, on the road to Vermand) as well as by Field Ambulances. These
original graves are in Plots I-III; and after the Armistice those plots were
enlarged, and Plots IV and V made, by the concentration of graves from the
surrounding battlefields and from a few small burial grounds. These scattered
graves were mainly of April 1917, and March, April, September and October 1918,
and many of them represented casualties of the 59th (North Midland) Division. At
the same time four French, 31 American and 28 German Graves, all of October,
1918, were removed to other cemeteries. There are now over 750 Great War
casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, over 200 are unidentified. Five
Indian Cavalry soldiers, whose bodies were cremated, are named on special
memorials. The cemeteries from which British graves were removed to Vadencourt
British Cemetery included these two: VADENCOURT CHATEAU CEMETERY, a little
further West, in which nine soldiers from the United Kingdom and six from Canada
were buried in April-August, 1917. VENDELLES CHURCHYARD EXTENSION, made by the
59th Division in April, 1917, and containing the graves of 36 soldiers from the
Lieutenant Colonel J.H.S. (‘Jack’) Dimmer VC was a pre-war officer of the KRRC who had been awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery at First Ypres in 1914. His citation reads,
"This Officer served his machine gun during the attack on the 12th November at Klein Zillebeke until he had been shot five times - three times by shrapnel and twice by bullets, and continued at his post until his gun was destroyed."
Following several other commands, he was serving with the 2/4th Royal Berkshires of 61st (South Midland) Division on 21st March. There was bitter fighting near Maissemy in which his battalion played a key part. Dimmer mounted a white charger during the fighting – somewhat conspicuous on the battlefield – and was killed shortly afterwards. Buried by the Germans, his grave was recovered from an isolated spot on the battlefield after the war.
Among the other burials are numerous RFC officers, a large amount of soldiers from the Sherwood Foresters and in Plot I many different cavalry regiments are represented. Some of War Poet Ivor Gurney’s comrades of 2/5th Gloucesters are in Plot I, Row C. A senior officer is also buried here. Brigadier General Sir William A.I.Kay CMG DSO was a KRRC officer like Dimmer, who was killed commanding 3rd Infantry Brigade on 4th October 1918, aged 42. He had previously served with all four regular battalions of his regiment in Egypt, Malta, India and in the Boer War. He served on Sir John French’s Staff in 1914, and was wounded at Ypres in October. He served with the 24th Division Staff on the Somme and at Ypres, before rising to command 3rd Brigade in March 1918. Kay was killed by a gas shell near St Quentin.
– FROM HERE RETURN TO THE SOMME VIA THE RN.29 AND D.44 BACK TO PERONNE AND
IGN ‘GREEN’ SERIES No 4 ‘LAON-ARRAS’
1:100,000 (IGN 1995)
Gliddon, G. – VCs Of The First World War: Spring Offensive 1918 (Sutton Publishing 1997)
- Part of an excellent series, there is good coverage of the March 21st VCs here, but some of the facts need checking.
Gray, R. – Campaign Series No 11: Kaiserschlacht 1918 (Osprey 1991)
- A good general study of the battle, with good coverage of 21st March and some nice 3D effect maps.
McPahil, H. & Guest, P. - Hindenburg Line: St Quentin (Pen & Sword 2000)
- A weak book that covers too much in too little detail. The maps are average, and unlike most ‘Battleground Europe’ books there is very little information on visiting the ground today. Also, sadly no tourist information for the area – an area that needs it.
Middlebrook, M. – The Kaiser’s Battle (many editions)
- Seminal book on the subject and essential for any visit to the 21st March sectors.
Oldham, P. – Battleground Euope: The Hindenburg Line (Pen & Sword 1997)
- Only brief coverage of the area, but an excellent map of Manchester Hill on page 181.
Shaw Sparrow, W. – The Fifth Army in March 1918 (John Lane 1921)
- Good coverage of the Fifth Army sectors on 21st March, with some good maps. Shaw Sparrow was a Gough apologist, and Gough wrote a terse forward to the book.
Stedman, M. Pals: Manchester Pals (Pen & Sword Books)
- Large format Pals book with good coverage of the 16th and 17th Manchesters. Mike is also working on a Battleground Europe title on the Kaiser’s Battle. See his web site for further information at:
©Paul Reed 2001-2006