Posted: 1 March 2009 23:39

Slit trench My Downsforce research today hit a landmark with my discovering trench #150. I recorded a total of eight new trenches, taking me to 152 to date, with a few 'possibles' still to be investigated.

I'm acutely aware that most of my Downsforce blogs contain photos such as that seen at right, i.e. a rectangle of tape measure on a patch of grass, which is probably not very interesting after the first one. However, it's difficult to show much else! (My next post will show something a bit more interesting though...)

This particular trench was one of three I found on 21 February and I believe it might have been occupied by the Defence Platoon of the incumbent infantry brigade. I say this, as an underground battle HQ was sited somewhere in the vicinity; I mentioned it back in November.

Although I had visited the general area previously, one thing that had struck me was that an HQ would be defended and until this point, I had found no evidence of defence works nearby. There must have been other trenches, but access to some parts of the locality is restricted.

Slit trench

Moving to another location about 500m away, I found this piece of corrugated iron. It turned out to be an odd piece lying on the surface and not an actual trench, but I did find two partially infilled trenches nearby.

Another find was at an impression I had already recorded as a trench; a local platoon of sheep had helpfully nibbled the vegetation down to reveal the top of a picket I hadn't seen previously. I remember having been a bit worried about this 'trench' and had put a question mark beside it in my list, even though I had applied several of my criteria to it. The picket reassured me that I'd been correct in my identification.

I've now identified 150 trenches, a number I never dreamed of when I began studying the Downsforce area in August 2008 and was pleased to find as many as 20 trenches still evident in the landscape!

- Pete



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Slit trench

Small, narrow trench designed to provide protection against shrapnel and other battlefield hazards. Technically distinct from a weapon pit (which was intended soley as a defensive position) slit trenches were also used as defence works.

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Hibbs, Peter Downsforce: 150 trenches - and counting! (2017) Available at: Accessed: 25 September 2017

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