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View of the blasted tree stumps in Delville Wood, September 1916. On 15 July the South African Infantry launched a disastrous attempt to take 'Devil's Wood' during the Battle of the Somme. (to edit)*
The view above left, taken sometime in September 1916, shows an old German trench and blasted trees in Delville Wood after its capture.
The image to its right, featuring the old British front-line trenches in the wood was photographed almost a year later, on 3 July 1917.
This is typical of the scenes of devastation after a major offensive. It took a long time for the forests of France and Belgium to recover from the effects of continual shellfire and poison gas.
This trench map of the area is held by the Imperial War Museum.
Please bear in mind that all images on this website are Copyright. They are not free to use and have been embedded with a digital watermark. The black & white photographs from the Imperial War Museum`s collection have been used courtesy of its `Share & Reuse` policy and are also subject to copyright restrictions.
The large obelisk pictured above marks the location of the South African HQ during the battle.
Right: Troops digging a communication trench through a devastated Delville Wood in July 1916.
Below Left: A line of ammunition limbers of 35th Field Battery, Royal Field Artillery, passing one of the edges of the wood on 17th September 1916.
The image on the right below, was taken on 3 July 1917, a year after the fighting. It shows the "Devil's Trench", one of the most notorious German-held strongpoints within the wood.
Troops holding Delville Wood named the trench lines after well-known British streets and the large number of Scots seemed to have had an influence. Rides through the wood now have stone blocks (above) to mark the names of the main trenches.
Located near Longueval, Delville Wood military cemetery is the third largest cemetery in the Somme battlefield area. It is the final resting place of over 5,500 servicemen of the First World War, of whom more than 3,500 remain unidentified. Most of those buried died in July, August and September 1916. The cemetery is situated directly across the road from the South African National Memorial and museum. Like all CWGC Cemeteries, it`s immaculately kept.
Above: The chaplains of the English Presbyterian and Dutch Churches conducting the South African Brigade's memorial service at Delville Wood on 17 February 1918. A South African nurse (identified as Mildred Atherstone Fynn) places a wreath on her brother's (Private Dudley Beresford Hoole Fynn) grave during the service. 'Nancy', the Springbok mascot of the 4th South African Regiment took part in proceedings.