Wednesday 20 July 2016

Day Twenty on the Somme

Thursday 20th July 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Today the South Africans were relieved from the evil Delville Wood, now being referred to by all and sundry as Devil’s Wood. The rescue was effected by two battalions from 53rd Brigade, 18th Division, the division which has so greatly distinguished itself in the first three weeks of this great battle. 8th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment and 6th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment finally broke through German defences to bring out the encircled South Africans. Only two wounded officers, we understand and 140 men, out of a total of several thousand who went in, came out of the wood. There is a story doing the rounds, which I cannot verify, that they were piped out by a man of the Black Watch who had fought against the Boers at the Battle of Magersfontein in 1899(1).

A few hundred yards to the north-west 33rd Division attacked High Wood this morning. In vicious fighting they have managed to occupy a portion of the southern edge of this place. Attacks this afternoon saw men of the division reach the northern part of the wood. Sadly they were driven back to the southern end by heavy German shelling.

(1) This was Piper Sandy Grieve.

No comments:

Post a Comment