View Full Version : Battle of "Delville Woods" (part of Battle of Bazentin Ridge) any Info?

25-12-2006, 4:17 PM
I have been able to find a connection between 14th (Light Division) and the 'Battle of Delville Woods' (that was part of a bigger battle "Battle of Bazentin Ridge") Any information Re- Area covered/Dates/Casualties/ etc.(however small) would be welcome because I am assuming Pte. H.H.Humphrey was taken prisoner during this time. His Diary ends abruptly on June 30th 1916, therefore I am assuming this was when he was captured--one of his last entries " was detailed to the trenches--"
This would "tie up loose ends"

Best Wishes for 2007---Kath

26-12-2006, 5:11 AM
A quick gooogle search turns up

interesting site this, must add to my own bookmarks



another site added to bookmarks


hope this helps

26-12-2006, 10:59 AM
Dear Nev, Many thanks for Information provided--I will be spending my time in the next couple of days looking at these web-pages. Your help is much appreciated.---Kath

26-12-2006, 5:39 PM
Hi Kath :)

Although the dates are a tad later than June 1916, I did some research a while ago for a friend tracing a Soldier in the 10th, DLI. They were also involved in Delville Woods. Some of the info may be of use / interest?

Kind regards,

Here is what I wrote:

The following is a transcript of the War Diaries of the 10th Battalion,
Durham Light Infantry. Taken from the PRO Document WO 95 / 1907, it gives an insight into the "life" of the young men in the DLI in the days leading up
to, and including, the horror of the 15th and 16th September 1916, where
many, including Wilson Cooper, had lost their lives so tragically...

(The Battalion had originally left Aldershot for Bologne via Folkestone on
the 21st May the previous year.)

1st Sept 1916, at Hornoy, France:
Troops commenced cleaning clothing and equipment etc and a thorough
Day fine.

2nd Sept:
As yesterday - rested.

3rd Sept:
Coys at disposal of O.C. Coys for inspection and drill - Church Parade.
Rested. BGC inspected B. Coy - Bombers and Lewis Gunners who were briefly
responsible for the attack on Delville Wood on 27th and 28th Aug.

4th Sept:
Parades as yesterday. No parades in afternoon, men rested or played
football. Still fine weather.

5th Sept:
As yesterday.

6th Sept:
As yesterday. Cross Country run held in afternoon. 1st Signals 2nd Runners.

7th Sept:
As yesterday. Sports held in the afternoon. CO won 120 yds handicap. India
Cavalry passed through village on way to the front.


26-12-2006, 5:40 PM
8th Sept:
CO went to Stoke Mortar demonstration. Battn marched to near ?Selincourt?
and practised Artillery formations and the attack in extended order on the
way back. Football in the afternoon.

9th Sept:
Continued practice of the attack order over open country. A. Coy played D.
in final of football tournament in afternoon.

10th Sept:
Church Parades. Orders received that Battn would return to the line on the
11th or 12th by bus or train. If by train, Battn was to march part of the
way to ?Airaines? on 11th.Transport to go tomorrow to Ailly-sur-Somme and
continue next day. Played 129th Regiment at Rugby football. Beaten, Further
orders received that Battn would entrain at Airaines at 8am on 12th inst.
and march to WARLUS on 11th.

11th Sept:
Prepared to move. Transport left at 1.15pm and Battn marched at 2.15pm. Fine
day. Reached Warlus about 4.30pm and occupied billets vacated by 7th RB who
had left the day before. Billets inferior to last. Inhabitants of Hornoy
were sorry to see the last of us.

12th Sept:
Marched from Warlus at 6am. Day fine. Entrained at Airaines about 9.30am.
Detrained at Marricourt and marched to camp at Dernancourt close to our
former camp here. Men in ?biuouses? Heavy rain during the night.

13th Sept:
Wet and cold. CO inspected Battn and camp. Short parade.


26-12-2006, 5:43 PM

14th Sept:
Dryer but still cold. Order received that Div. would attack the enemy on the
15th with the main object of capturing Guedecourt. A new engine of war "The
Tank" which was a "Catterpillar" carrying machine guns was to assist
operations. 43rd Bde was to be in support for the attack and to move to camp
near Fricourt at night. Prepared to move. Marched from camp at 8pm and
arrived in camp at FIDC near Fricourt about 10pm. Roads very bad. Tents were
few. Further orders received for the morrow and Battn operation orders were
issued about midnight. We were to move to near Pommier Redoubt at 7.30am
accompanied by 1st Enchelon Transport. Extra S.A.A. Grenades, Flares,
Rockets and Very Lights were drawn after midnight. Grenades had to be
detonated and all were distributed shortly after 4.30am.

15th Sept:
Marched off at 7.30am in accordance with orders. Reached Pommier Redoubt
about 9.30am. News received that attack was going well and that first
objectives had been taken. ?Tanks? were reported to be a success. Further
orders received. Marched off at 11.30am by platoon and occupied York trench
and check line in front of ?Bernafay? Wood. Shortly after taking up
positions, orders were received to move up to vicinity of Ten Support in
front of Delville Wood, now clear of the enemy. At the commencement there
was no fire but Delville Wood was being heavily barraged. Battn went through
the wood in Artillery formations. Companies in single file. 8 ORs were
killed by one shell, otherwise casualties here were wonderfully light. Just
in front of Wood, Artillery fire was rather heavier but the Battn came
through well. Took up position with two companies in Brown Trench and two
companies in shell holes about 200yds in front.
Orders which had taken 4 or 5 hours to reach us were received about 11.30pm
that 43rd Bde would relieve 42nd Bde in the front line trenches which they
had reached our Battn. to be on the left and the Somersets on our right.
41st Division was on our left and the Guards on our right.


26-12-2006, 5:46 PM

16th Sept:
About midnight we moved off in a NNE direction in close artillery formation
to find the line we were to take over. Its position was uncertain. We
suffered several casualties on the way up from 77mm. We eventually arrived
after several halts in dangerous positions at the line to be occupied by us
exactly in the centre of the position. The line to be held ran from about
N31.d.9.5. to N31.d 10.7 and to N32. c.3.2. with three Coys in the front
line and HQ and 1 Coy in support about 50yds behind. The night was very
quiet and consolidation was proceeded with. Orders were received about 5am
that the 43rd Bde would attack the 3rd and 4th objectives at 9.25am and
establish a line beyond GUEDECOURT. Our part of the attack was to be on a
600yds front between N31.b.4.0. to N32.c.5.6. The necessary orders were
accordingly issued. Our flanks were to rest on the roads leading to
Guedecourt from the boundaries of our front. The front three Coys were
ordered to advance in 2 waves and the other Coy in 2 waves in support. The
artillery support was altogether insufficent and it is believed that for a
time ammunition could not be got up quickly enough. The Barrage did not
creep in front of our men and the heavies dropped a large percentage of
short ones, so making it difficult to recognise the line of the barrage. The
area to be bombarded was so extensive as to make the bombardment appear very thin and scanty, especially to the right in front of the Somersets beyond
Guedecourt-Ginchy Road.

...16th Sept cont...

26-12-2006, 5:47 PM
...16th Sept cont...

Several of the enemy were seen moving in spite of the fire. At the appointed
time, the coys advanced and immediately came under heavy machine gun and
rifle fire from front and right flank. The machine guns were probably in
Gird Trench or shell holes or even in Guedecourt. We advanced about 400yds
but could not go further on account of the machine gun fire from which the
casualties were heavy. It was observed also that there was wire in front of
the trench to be taken which had not been cut at all by the artillery. The
casualties during the whole advance had been severe. Shelter was taken in
shell holes. Things gradually quietened down but the enemy machine guns
opened on any sign of movement. About 11.30am parties of Germans about the
size of a platoon each were seen advancing down the slope from the direction
of TRANSLOY. We prepared for a counter attack which appeared to be likely,
but it did not materialise, and the enemy were probably reinforcing. Our
artillery barraged these parties but did not appear to damage them. At about
5pm further orders were received for the renewal of the attack at 6.55pm.
All men possible - about 100 - were organised for the attack from the
original trenches. What was left of the remainder of the Battn was still
holding out in front. Only 3 Officers remained, the CO Adjt and Bombing
Our Bombardment was heavier this time, but not sufficient to cover the
objective, and considering the ground to be covered before reaching it. As
soon as the advance commenced we were again met by heavy MG fire from the
right flank, and on advancing about 200yds; also from the left flank. There
was also considerable fire from in front. The attack was again held up and
it was useless to sacrifice more lives when the ?enfilading? MGs had not
been dealt with. After dark, consolidation of the new line reached was given
up in favour of a line further back - a sunken road known as Bulls Road.
This road is straight and eventually runs through the enemy's line to our
right. The German Artillery fire had been very slight during the 2nd attack
and it was quiet at night. Two patrols were sent out during the night and
both came back in contact with parties of Germans, the Sgt in charge of one
being shot in the arm, on enquiring if the part was Somersets. Our
objectives had since been taken (27-9-16) about 12 midnight orders were
received for the relief of the Battn by a Battn of the 62nd Bde. Most of the
night was spent in bringing in and attending to wounded.


26-12-2006, 5:48 PM

17th Sept:
We were eventually relieved about 6am and came out in daylight. Casualties
during tour. 6 Officers killed 11 woundered - ORs not yet ascertained. Only
3 other Officers remained. The CO was slightly wounded and came out with the
Battn. The Battn marched to camp at Pommiers Redoubt arriving there about
10am. It marched out under 200 strong. The estimated casualties in men were
430. It is suspected that the enemy still pick out Officers and NCO's for
special attention. More men continued to come in during the morning who had
been missed during the relief. Orders were received that the Battn would
move to camp at FBC leaving at 5.30pm where it accordingly did. We arrived
at FBC at 7.30pm. It then commenced to rain and continued during the night.
Further orders were received that Bde. would march next day to ?Ribenmont?
starting at 9.50am. The camp had been extraordinarily dirty on our taking
over, but next morning was left clean.

Further reports from all Regiments involved in this attack, were included in
the PRO document and the 43rd L.I. Brigade listed the following:
6th Somerset LI:
Killed 3 Officers - 41 OR's
Wounded 12 " - 203 "
Missing 2 " - 143 "

6th DCLI:
Killed 4 Officers - 17 OR's
Wounded 9 " -157 "
Missing - " - 100 "

6th KOYLI:
Killed 5 Officers - 37 OR's
Wounded 10 " -181 "
Missing 1 " - 84 "

10th Durham LI:
Killed 5 Officers - 37 OR's
Wounded 12 " - 208 "
Missing - " - 120 "

43rd M G Coy:
Killed - Officers - 8 OR's
Wounded 3 " - 20 "
Missing - " - 10 "

43rd T M Battery:
Killed - Officers - - OR's
Wounded 1 " - - "
Missing - " - - "

There were also "Observations" included on the other Regiments'
reports...such as:
Men being left injured in "No Man's Land" for up to 24 hrs during to no
stretcher boards being available to carry them back to safety.
Flares and Rockets failing to ignite.
Orders arriving too late to carry out and then disarray as to what to do

26-12-2006, 9:53 PM
Dear SeuL- This is Brilliant information--
Pte. H.H.Humphrey served in the 43, Field Ambulance RAMC. He mentions the DLI (and the Wingate lot!) in his diary so maybe there is a connection there somewhere-
His last entry shows July 1st-----------bombardment very heavy all along the line--etc.
July2nd------------Bombardment very heavy again--detailed to go to the trenches----(then it ends abruptly)
It could be that he went to the trenches and was 'caught-up' and unable to return or maybe he did return to camp with casualties but was unindated with 'work' that he was unable to complete further entries--then returned to the trenches and was then taken captive during the (Battle) 'account'you have given me.
This is very interesting and I will pursue this 'train of thought'
I do appreciate your help-Many thanks.

27-12-2006, 12:06 PM
Hi Kathy

Sue did the research on my behalf. |hug| I have a bit more info which I found on a website (but I didn't make note of the URL |blush| ):

"DLI - 10TH (Service) Battalion

Formed at Newcastle, 22 August 1914, as part of K1.
August 1914: attached to 43rd Brigade, 14th (Light) Division.:)
12 February 1918: disbanded in France."


30-12-2006, 10:42 AM
Dear SueL, Many thanks for information re-DLI-10th Battlion I will 'look' into that.
I have found an entry in Pte. Humphrey Diary dated 30/9/1915----"Rose at 1pm by rowdy entrance of the 9th Division (Scotch). They had come straight from (La Bazel) after making a glorious charge"--Kath