Forgotten Front: Cuinchy Brickstacks

We return to the ‘Forgotten Front’ in Northern France where the British operations on the Western Front took place in 1915, and there were long periods of static trench warfare. Here we visit the site of the Cuinchy ‘Brickstacks’ – huge stacks of undelivered bricks that formed towers on the battlefield here.

Link to the ‘Forgotten Front’ section of the original Old Front Line website.

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Podcast Extras:

16 Comments on “Forgotten Front: Cuinchy Brickstacks

  1. Fascinating as ever Paul – thanks.
    But one phrase caught my ear. What is a “modern face”? You described the seven guys looking out of the tent as having just such.

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    • I think you’ll see when I do the episode on this but I guess what I mean is they look like the image could be taken now. We tend to have a view of what men from that generation looked like and this look more like faces ‘now’ as it were.

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    • I think it’s interesting to contrast photos from WW1 and WW2. In the later, the faces look modern, the haircuts could be contemporary and think the better cameras allow a more spontaneous look. See pictures of the Paras at Arnhem as an example. WW1 photos are often more formal and required the subject to pose and remain still which I think creates more distance and self consciousness. Hair cuts and particularly the moustaches also seem to add distance, despite the photos being taken not far apart, at least compared now.

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  2. Nice one….as you said a forgotten part of the OFL especially the Portuguese involvement -look forward to the next one!

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  3. Good to hear the contribution of the Portuguese mentioned. I visited their cemetery during the 90th anniversary (1915 battles tour) with you in 2005. Thanks also for mentioning Dave O’Mara and his work on the French Army. I now intend to order a couple of his books from N &M Press. Thanks for another excellent podcast.

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  4. As usual an excellent podcast Paul. With regards to the photo of the 7 and 2 returning it reminds me of my grandfather. He and 11 of his pals joined up in sept 14 in the Yorkshire Regiment at Shiney Row of which 6 including himself returned at the end of the war. He was wounded twice the second time late October 18 and I don’t know if this was the shrapnel wound he had down one side all he ever said I was lucky. I suspect the 2 in the photo would concur.

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  5. Another very enjoyable episode Paul. Like others I’d love to hear more on the Portuguese, I had no idea they were even participants!

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  6. Wonderful episode Paul, I seem to recall from Col Graham Chaplin’s letters in Andrew Davidson’s “The Invisible Cross” that he became very familiar with this part of The Old Frontline. Also really interesting to hear about the 2 brothers buried together, during some research last week I stumbled across two brothers (and officer and a Private, buried side by side at Duisans, although the CWGC seems to have the wrong grave references for them. Looking forward to hearing more about this area of The Frontline and of course your book!

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  7. hello Paul, wondering if you could help me, my great uncle Pte Philpott WJ L/8210 was killed according to the war records in Givenchy 27 Jan 1915. he served with the 2bn RSR. going thru the RSR diary it doesn’t mention Givenchy.

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      • Paul
        thanks butI do have the diary, that is why I’m confused as to why the records say Givenchy and not Cuinchy. Also the date, no mention of a pte killed on 27 Jan, I suspect he was killed during the heavy fighting 25-26 Jan. he has no known grave and is on panel 21 at La Touret

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      • I suspect the Battalion HQ was in Givenchy but it could be they weren’t sure or where the village boundaries were – they were largely using sketch maps then.

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