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Maze Attack

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Pinpointing the MAZE Today

My Great-Uncle Norman John Anthony (A Company 25 Bn) fought at the MAZE on 5 Nov 1916. He was shot and later died of wounds at Heilly Station Casualty Clearing Station. He is buried in what were the grounds of that medical facility, and what is now the Heilly Station War Cemetery. The position of what was the MAZE in Nov 1916 now lies in beautiful cultivated crop land along Rue 2 Du September, 600 meters south of Ligney Thilloy and a similar distance north of the D74. The Google Earth reference is 62450 Ligney Thilloy France 50.074687 ; 2.817685. This old road running along Vallee Guislain (Goose Lane or Goose alley) was formerly the connecting road between the Five Ways (where D74 meets D11 today) and Ligny Thilloy and Le Barque to the North East of the Five Ways. D11 was previously named Hexham Road in WW1 times. From the Five Ways, a road runs south-east back to Flers. This was called Abbey Road. About halfway along Rue 2 September the roadway disappears for a distance of many hundreds of meters. You can see this clearly from a Google Earth map today. You can also see the degraded land in this precise location with poorer quality of crops. The Maze was an extensive network of interconnecting trenches and earthworks. Apparently the old road was not able to be completely restored to its pre-war condition and it became a permanent ruin. Likewise the fields seem to have lost some fertility for cropping. If you are using the grid maps of the battlefield, the position of the MAZE is at the intersection of Grid 18 and Grid 24 on the old road (middle of the intersecting grid line.) This is approx one grid width north of the current D74 highway. Another important map reference is Factory Corner at Grid 19 to the south east of the MAZE. This was a sugar beet processing factory pre-WW1. It was badly damaged - almost leveled by British artillery as the Flers sector was gradually taken in the preceding months. It had been an important German position and Field Dressing Station. It had extensive underground facilities sixty feet deep that survived the artillery bombardments. A fraction of the above ground ruins of this building still exist. I will post a photo of this in due course. By the time of the 5th November Attacks by the Australians, Factory Corner was also being used by the Australians as a Foreward Dressing Station / Regimental Aid Post. It is referenced in various books pertaining to the Australian Field Ambulance units. At that time it was being shelled intermittently by the Germans during the November attacks to try to deprive access to its underground facilities, but without success. Factory Corner became an important position in the evacuation of the wounded from this area over the November period - until the battle ended later that month. In 2008 I had the privilege to visit this area and walk some of the ground. However, I don't have a photograph of the actual position on the ground as I had not located the precise position of the MAZE at that time. I only have the Google Earth photos. Does anyone have photos? I would love to see them posted on this page. Happy hunting! Paul.


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