In the summer of 1916 the Southern part of The Somme zone was concentrated on the bloody battle for the village of Guillemont and Delville Wood. My great uncle Edward George (Jack) Walker was there with the 12th battalion, Royal Fusiliers.
For weeks the fighting had involved almost constant artillery shelling with attack and counter attack. Trenches being captured before being lost again.
The village, woods and surrounding countryside were destroyed..just a mass of shell craters and ruined trench. The trees in Delville, Bernafay and Trones has long since been blown to pieces.
For the past few days the 12th RF had been kept in reserve behind the front line – with the order they should be prepared to move at four hours notice.
That notice came on September 1. They were about the walk into a living nightmare..
Battalion Diary: 1.9.16
Place: Carlton Trench Between High Wood and Delville Wood.
Weather: Fine. Ordered suddenly to move up to the trenches. Arrived in trenches at 3.30 am after being delayed in Catapillar Valley (sic) for 2 hours owing to a very heavy gas shell barrage + our guides going astray. An exceedingly unpleasant experience. Many men very sick from the effects. No 3 company sent up to reinforce the 3rd RBs (Rifle Brigade) who has lost rather heavily in an attack on Orchard Trench which they captured and were holding. Casualties: 6 OR (Other Ranks) wounded.