Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Messines Model featured on Inside Out

Last night 21st October 2013, Inside Out West Midlands featured our work on the Cannock Chase Model of Messines. If you missed it you can catch it on iPlayer until next Monday. Inside Out on iPlayer

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Work is progressing well

Despite the torrential rain yesterday, work to protect the Model of Messines on Cannock Chase is progressing well, massive thanks to all our volunteers who braved the weather. The work continues today.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

More about the Battle of Messines

As our project on the Messines model draws to a close, we would like to provide some additional information about the battle and the New Zealanders who fought there:

nzhistory.net.nz Has a selection of pages dedicated to Messines


www.army.gov.au has an article on the Australian involvement at Messines

plugstreet-archaeology.com is No Man's Land's site about the work we are doing in Belgium



We can now also confirm that the reinstatement will begin on Monday 14th of October, if any of our volunteers would like to assist or any new volunteers would like to help it would be much appreciated. Please email Jo on cannockwwiexcavations@gmail.com to let us know which day(s) you can help. If you haven't volunteered on site during the excavation,  please contact Jo  to register before arriving on site.


Monday, 7 October 2013

Cannock Model Information Boards

Our information boards have now been removed from the site for safe keeping, but copies are now available below.

Click the images to enlarge for reading:




Other Opportunities to Volunteer

Following the success of the community archaeology project to uncover the Model of Messines on Cannock Chase, we have been asked if there are any other opportunities to volunteer.

In addition to the process of protecting the model and reinstating the heathland, we hope to be able to undertake further Great War related excavations in the future, please watch this blog for further updates.


We can also tell you about a new archaeology club being organised to look at the wider history of the Chase, please contact The Friends of Cannock Chase for more information.

The Landor (Local History) Society are another local group whose interests include the Great War Camps on the Chase. Their website also has links to other local groups which may be of interest.


The Wartime Memories Project is seeking volunteers to help online with historical research, writing and editing articles for the website and also for their HLF funded Great War Centenary project "Life on the Home Front".

As the centenary of the Great War approaches, there will be a huge number of local and national projects taking place, http://www.1914.org/ has a list of many events and projects. 

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Our Project in the Media

In addition to the TV coverage on BBC1, Midlands Today and News 24, our project has been mentioned in a number of newspapers and on radio, here in Britain and in New Zealand:

Dig begins on Cannock Chase to uncover unique wartime model

New Zealand Lieutenant Colonel Mike Beale visits WW1 Messines model in England

WW1 terrain model of Messines in Belgium built by ANZAC troops in England is excavated

WW1 Messines model excavation in England

 Dolores Ho of the National Army Museum in Wouiaru interview NZ radio programme

The model will also feature on Inside Out, West Midlands, as yet we don't have a confirmed date for broadcast and on Countryfile on BB1 on the 11th of November.

The filming of Countryfile has delayed the finalising of our project and we now expect to begin the process of covering the model on Monday 14th October 2013, if any of our volunteers would like to assist or any new volunteers would like to help it would be much appreciated. Please email Jo on cannockwwiexcavations@gmail.com to let us know which day(s) you can help. If you haven't volunteered on site during the excavation,  please contact Jo  to register before arriving on site.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Casualties of War

One of the most important aspects of the war, is one which is sometimes overlooked when visiting the battlefield, even in miniature. The official histories speak of heroic deeds and hard fighting, success and failure, the white portland headstones of the Commonwealth War Graves are a stark hauntingly beautiful reminder of those who lost their lives in these blood soaked fields. But what of those who were injured?

To the families and soldiers the Royal Army Medical Corps is perhaps one of the most vital of the support services on the battlefield, something which is as true today as it was in 1917.

The Battle of Messines was planned in every detail and the medical support was a massive part of this plan. The New Zealanders had a well co-ordinated network to assist the injured both on the battlefield and to evacuate them back to the hospitals on the coast of France or in England.

The Main Dressing Station was situated at Westhoft Farm with the Advanced Dressing Station at Kandahar behind the British Lines, they also used the Australian Advanced Dressing Station at Underhill Farm, all lined by tramways and motor car ambulances. There were two Regimental Aid Posts at Fort Osbourne and Boyles Farm, which were moved forward into captured territory after the Town of Messines had been captured at 7am. Captain Nelson, the RMO of the 1st Aucklands, opened his RAP in a captured concrete dug out in Ulcer Sap and Capt Addison opened his RAP at Moulin de L'Ospice a German strong point on the site of the Windmill belonging to the Institution Royale on the western edge of Messines, now the site of the CWGC Cemetery.


The NZ Medical Corps Report of the preparations for the battle and the events during the action is available online and makes interesting reading: The New Zealand Medical Service in the Great War 1914-1918

The German army employed a very similar system, with their main aid post being situated close to the Institution Royale with further facilities in the cellars. The German RAP was demolished during the preliminary bombardments before the Battle, killing many of their medical personnel, leading the attacking troops to conclude that the enemy had scant regard for their injured comrades.