Military History Tours On Tour - Delville Wood Centenary 14 July 2016
At 0800 we boarded the bus and headed off to Longueaval – Delville Wood.
At the side of the road we saw camels and llamas tethered and eating the grass. The circus is in Peronne.
When we arrived at Delville Wood, there was a red carpet from the gate way up to the memorial.
After getting organised we had a private memorial service. We placed small wooded memorial crosses from the South African Veterans association. We then went for a walk along the rows and the rides inside Delville Wood.
As it is 14th July; the museum was closed; however some persuasive talking with the caretaker; the museum was opened for our party for 20 minutes only.
We also visited the Delville Wood CWGC cemetery.
We drove to the Fricourt German cemetery. It is a very bright and light cemetery when compared with others in France and Belgium.
The size of the Lochnager Crater at La Boisselle was a surprise to some in our group.
At the 1st Division memorial, the DVA set up work encloses and hides the memorial. Gibraltar is decaying at a very fast rate. A brief summary of 1 Division capturing Pozieres was given.
The next stop was at the Windmill site. One brief was given on the tank memorial and another on the 2 Division attacks on the Windmill site. The exhausting of 1st Anzac Corps in driving towards Mouquet Farm was outlined.
At the Butte de Warlencourt a brief was given, before we enjoyed our packed lunches in the picnic area.
Then off to the New Zealand Memorial at Flers.
We then drove to near Rancourt to look at the ridge on which the South African Brigade made the last stand on 24 March 1918. This stand prevented the German thrust splitting the British Third and Fifth Armies apart.
In Sailly-Saillisel, our bus was stopped to allow the local 14 July parade pass through the village.
The final stop for the day was at the rear of the Villiers Guislan communal cemetery to view Gauche Wood in which B Company of the 2nd South African Infantry Regiment adsorbed and rebuffed the initial German assault on 21 March 1918.
After a long and emotional day, we headed back to our hotel in Peronne for rest.