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Wilfred Owen's Places: Joncourt - "Swiss Cottage"

Joncourt - Swiss Cottage

The figures on the left hand side of this photograph are looking directly towards the position on the Beaurevoir-Fonsomme Line from which the separate photograph giving the view from that line was taken. They are standing with their backs to Joncourt Church.

The attack by the 2nd Manchesters came from the right hand side of the picture eventually reaching the farm called by the British "Swiss Cottage". The shallow valley seen in the middle of the photograph, gave some protection from observation from the German trenches before the 2nd Manchesters had to commence the up hill attack on the higher ground of the Beaurevoir-Fonsomme Line fortifications. It was at this point that casualties began to occur despite the assistance of one or two tanks.

Never willing to give ground, the inevitable German counter-attacks when they came were made in the direction of "Swiss Cottage". In driving them off the Manchesters were helped considerably by a unit of the Machine Gun Corps under the command of Lieutenant L.H.Smith. Two of his machine guns had been put out of action by an intensive barrage just ahead of one of the counter-attacks. Extricating those of his teams who were uninjured he pushed forward four of his machine guns to an advanced post near "Swiss Cottage" and by engaging the enemy at close range succeeded in fending off a very dangerous threat to the Manchesters’ left flank.

The village of Ramicourt, later attacked by the 16th Lancashire Fusiliers, can be seen in the top right hand side of the picture.

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