The Messines Ridge Model, Brocton Camp, Cannock Chase

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Date:1930 - 1938 (c.)

Description:A view of the scaled terrain model of the Battle of Messines at Brocton Camp. When the New Zealand Rifle Brigade left Brocton Camp in 1919 they presented the Messines Ridge Model to the local town of Stafford. A local, Mr Groucott, charged sixpence to visitors to have a tour of the model which fell into disrepair during and after World War 2 and was eventually covered by time and vegetation. When excavated and surveyed in 2013 it was found in relatively good condition and a full report is available online.

Too fragile to remain uncovered, once the excavation was completed it was carefully covered for posterity as it is one of the only surviving examples of its kind remaining and is now a listed scheduled monument. The location of the guide's hut was found along with the odd sixpence that must have been dropped by Mr Groucott.

Similar models were built near the Western Front to train all ranks of their objectives before a major offensive and helped to reduce confusion during battle. Before the attack in this instance, tunnels were dug below the ridge and detonated before the advance which caused major casualties and confusion in the German defences and proved to be one of the most successful battles of the War.

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Link to this resource

Donor ref:13_020r (215/36455)

Source: Mr Jake Whitehouse

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