Today there was a moving commemoration of The Battle of Delville Wood Centenary at elder granddaughter’s school, as an opportunity to remember the many ‘old boys’ who lost their lives fighting for their country. This was part of the Battle of the Somme, about which Wiki offers:
“The Battle of the Somme (French: Bataille de la Somme, German:Schlacht an der Somme), also known as the Somme Offensive, was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies of the British andFrench empires against the German Empire. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of the upper reaches of theRiver Somme in France. The battle was intended to hasten a victory for the Allies and was the largest battle of the First World War on theWestern Front. More than one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history.[4“
The Delville Wood action is described as follows:
“The Battle of Delville Wood was an operation to secure the British right flank, while the centre advanced to capture the higher lying areas of High Wood and Pozières. After the Battle of Albert the offensive had evolved to the capture of fortified villages, woods, and other terrain that offered observation for artillery fire, jumping-off points for more attacks, and other tactical advantages. The mutually costly fighting at Delville Wood eventually secured the British right flank and marked the Western Front debut of the South African 1st Infantry Brigade (incorporating a Southern Rhodesian contingent), which held the wood from 15–20 July. When relieved the brigade had lost 2,536 men, similar to the casualties of many brigades on 1 July.”
“On 20 July, the 76th Brigade of the 3rd Division was again pushed forward to attempt to relieve the 1st South African Brigade. The Royal Welsh Fusiliers attacked towards the South Africans but by 1:00 p.m., Thackeray had informed Lukin that his men were exhausted, desperate for water and could not repel a further attack. Troops of the Suffolk Regiment and the 6th Royal Berkshires broke through and joined with the last remaining South African troops, in the segment of the wood still under South African control. Thackeray marched out of the wood, leading two wounded officers and 140 other ranks, the last remnant of the South African Brigade. Piper Sandy Grieve of the Black Watch, who had fought against the South African Boers as part of the Highland Brigade, in the Battle of Magersfontein in 1899 and been wounded through the cheeks, played the South Africans out.”
Fascinating addresses were given, and present was the old Rover Sunbeam which Jan Smuts used to visit the front lines, driven up the coast to the ceremony by the present owner. It still has bullet holes from snipers, and a radiator repaired with a shell casing after a sniper had done for it. Much Better Half took some pictures, but I can’t get her camera to speak to the computer or vice versa, so for now I will have to show a googled picture of a similar model.
Anyway, it is an appropriate time to again offer a link to my mother’s Delville Wood March, which I still haven’t found the opportunity to translate to a military band version. I am determined to do it, though. Imagine the opening part on a bugle, as intended, and the battle part with full brass and drums – it will be most impressive.