Who was ‘Jackson Ravine’ at Doiran named after?

If you take a look at a map of the Doiran battlefield you will see that the British – and before them the French – put a lot of effort into naming the various features.

One of these is Jackson Ravine which, as can be seen on the trench map below (Dojran 1:20,000 09/07/1917 – from the SCS Trench Maps DVD), runs roughly north-east towards the town of Doiran.

Extract from a British 1:20,000 trench map of July 1917 showing the Doiran battlefield. From the SCS Trench Map DVD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a close-up, showing the ravine and some of the neighbouring features: The Fang, Corne du Bois, Shrew Nullah, Mamelon and the ruined village of Doldzeli.

Close-up extract from a British 1:20,000 trench map of July 1917 showing Jackson Ravine on the Doiran battlefield. From the SCS Trench Map DVD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The question we have received is how it came to be named. Was it named after Lieut.-Colonel B. A. Jackson of 9th King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)?  9/King’s Own (Royal Lancaster) was part of 65th Infantry Brigade, 22nd Division, which spent most of its time on the Doiran front, so there was plenty of opportunity to have the ravine named after him and the map, above, shows that it had certainly gained this name by July 1917. It seems a reasonable assumption, but is it actually the case?

I’ve not been able to find out much about Lieut.-Col. Jackson, but he does get a mention in the Official History of the campaign (vol. II) in the description of the ill-fated British attack on 19 September 1918, during the Second Battle of Doiran:

The 65th Brigade … was, if all went well, to employ only one battalion, the 9/King’s Own (Royal Lancaster), in the assault, to capture P.4¼ and P.4. This battalion came under the same bombardment as had fallen upon the Zouaves near Doljeli village, and, like their leading battalion, had its commanding officer, Lieut.-Colonel B.A. Jackson, wounded. Here, however, the resemblance ended [the Zouaves were checked and in some confusion]. The battalion pushed on under the command of Captain C.M. Whitehead, and deployed 200 yards from P.4¼, its first objective.

When the battalion finally returned to its assembly trenches it had suffered 233 casualties. Its starting strength is not recorded, but it would already have lost men to sickness.

If you can provide the answer to the question about Jackson Ravine, please get in touch.

If either of the the King’s Own battalions (1st and 9th) is of interest to you, you will find much of interest at the regimental museum in Lancaster, including useful accounts of their time in Salonika:

 

Author: SCS Web Editor

Robin Braysher joined the SCS in 2003 and soon after became editor of the Society's journal - 'The New Mosquito' - a role he held until 2008. He then became the Society's web editor, a role he seems unable to shake off. His interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Fred, who served as a cyclist with the BSF from 1915 to 1917, mainly in the Struma valley. Opinions expressed in these posts are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.