Monday 18 July 2016

Day Eighteen on the Somme

Tuesday 18th July 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

I have heard from the adjutant of 1st Bedfords that they have been reconnoitring the ground in the area of High Wood, which is still firmly in German hands. Meanwhile the adjutant of 7th Bedfords tells me of a rumour in the division (18th) that it will not be called on to attack Guillemont due to the heavy casualties it incurred on the first day of the Battle and subsequently in the taking of Trônes Wood.

This afternoon the Germans have launched an attack on the village and wood at Longueval. The South Africans have been engaged in bitter hand-to-hand fighting in the shattered remains of that dreadful wood but, as I write, they are still hanging on. Australians to whom I have talked seem to see the failed invasion of Gallipoli last year as a badge of honour for their country blaming, of course, its failure on the British. One wonders if, in years to come, Delville Wood will not be seen by South Africans as similarly definitive for their nation.

Sources: X550/2/5; X550/8/1

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