Sunday 14 July 2019

The Battle of Delville Wood 1916

CAPE TIMES – July 15 & 17, 1933
BOIS D’ELVILLE (9 miles from Albert near the commune of Longueval, in the Somme department of France) was a major German defensive feature. The South African Brigade was attached to the 9th Scottish Division to capture the wood in July 1916. The South African regiment (consisting of some 3,150 men) went in at dawn on 15 July. Following a heavy artillery battle, the southern edge of German forces was cleared. The remainder of the wood was still in German hands. Fighting hard, the South Africans were relieved on the night of 19 July – among the four battalions 766 men were lost. The surrounding landscape was left with broken stumps, tree roots and massive shell holes. Bodies of South African and German forces were covered by mud and rainwater. This Battle at Delville Wood was the most costly action the South African Brigade fought on the Western Front. In 1920 South Africa bought this site as a memorial to those of that nation who fell, not just here but elsewhere. The memorial was designed by Sir Herbert Baker, assistant architect was Arthur James Scott Hutton, with sculpture by Alfred Turner. 
Inscription: To the Immortal Dead from South Africa, who at the call of Duty made the Great Sacrifice on the battlefields of Africa, Asia and Europe. 

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