Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Wood Lane Trench attack, High Wood, 9th Sept 1916


Jim Hastings

Recommended Posts

Remembering today the 95 men of 2nd Royal Sussex who made the Supreme Sacrifice during the Brigade attack on Wood Lane trench, amongst them local man, 19 year old G/8267 Pte Charles Eastwood of Buxted. 154 men were also wounded. It was the highest losses 2 Royal Sussex suffered since Aubers Ridge and Loos in 1915.

The attack was the first made by Pte Walter 'Josh' Grover, who recorded his experience with the IWM :

http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80010219

(reel 2)

RIP

Jim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just about to finish reading The Hell they called High Wood - excellent book. As with most research, after gaining an understanding of the War at a "macro" level, you need to study in depth to understand the significance of each and every action and I am starting out on this long process.

The scale of losses suffered July - Sept 1916 in and around this tiny wood are astounding and would commend this book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just about to finish reading The Hell they called High Wood - excellent book. As with most research, after gaining an understanding of the War at a "macro" level, you need to study in depth to understand the significance of each and every action and I am starting out on this long process.

The scale of losses suffered July - Sept 1916 in and around this tiny wood are astounding and would commend this book.

Whole heartily agree with the comment, me and my ww1 companion went to Bezantin and walked to the wood & around it! after reading this book & would recomend that anybody with an interest in ww1 read it as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jim

I was up at the NZ Memorial on the ridge last Tuesday; I was trying to remember (unsuccessfully) the name of Wood Lane trench while I was recounting the story of how long it took to take High Wood, first from Caterpillar Valley and then from the monument. I wanted to give a sense of why the Germans fought tooth and nail for the ridge to my friends who were first time visitors by looking out over the valley towards Flers. Do you know what the brigade frontage for the attack was in relation to High Wood and the memorial? I'll have the wide bare fields in mind as I think of them.

Pete.

P.S. By the way I'm assuming you've seen John's recent photograph of the ridge posted in "Some Photos of the Somme" in Battlefields. Very evocative anyway but particularly in the context of your post.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Afternoon Fellas

Yes, 'The Hell They Called High Wood' is one of my favourites, I bought it when researching a local man, Tucknott, who was killed there in August, up to then I found many Somme books jumped from July to September and August received little coverage.

Pete,

The attack was on a 3 Bn front. Axis of advance was parallel with the modern D107, North Easterly. 1 Northants on left (nearest High Wood), 2 R Sussex in middle and 2 KRRC on right, the latter two have downloadable war diaries, but neither have sketch maps or the like for this action (indeed, the 2 KRRC entry looks like it has been written up by my doctor the scrawl is so bad!). 3rd brigade was on the left, 165 Bde on the right. 2 R Sx had two companies leading, C (left) and D (right), A and B following up. C suffered from MG fire from High Wood, which also caused the Northants to suffer and not achieve their objective. 2 KRRC also had C and D Coys leading, but D on the right did suffer harassing MG fire and was supported by B Coy (If I read the scrawl right!!). 2 R Sx and 2 KRRC achieved theirs objectives despite the MG fire though. There is a map of the action in 'THTCHW', page 208.

Hope this helps

The photos were excellent, weren't they. Such hallowed ground

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:poppy:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jim

Thanks for the information; I can picture the ground in my mind's eye from last week and I have a few photographs of High Wood which will orientate me. It's the direction and the relatively narrow frontage that I was particularly interested in. I was doing a bit of amateur guiding for two of my friends who were first time visitors and by cooincidence I was going to tell the story of the Boar's Head action at Richebourg as we crossed the battlefield the following day. However we spent far longer in Givenchy than I'd anticipated so it will be a story for next time hopefully. I took my friends to Serre because they knew the story of the Accrington Pals and we also went to Fricourt where I briefly recounted the tragic tale of the 10th West Yorks. However I had hoped to balance things up geographically as it were to show that the losses suffered by communities were not just by northern industrial towns, although I am a northerner myself. I was also keen to counterbalance the perception that Fromelles was the only disasterous diversionary attack to support the Somme offensive.

My friends and I had a fantastic time on the Somme and up at Ieper last week (temperatures in the high 80's F certainly helped), and they are already talking about going back. I hope I can use the attack by the Royal Sussex on Wood Lane 97 years ago today to illustrate the appalling slogging match that cost so many lives over such a long period.

Thanks again,

Pete.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Pete,

Richebourg is sacred ground for the Royal Sussex Regiment: on 9th May 1915 as part of the Aubers Ridge battle 2nd Royal Sussex lost the highest number of men that it lost in any engagement during the whole war (followed by Loos in the September)and 1/5th Royal Sussex (Cinque Ports) were there too. The Cinder Track was their axis. As you probably know the Cinder Track was a Bn boundary for the South Downs Bde (12th and 13th R Sx with 11th in support) at the Battle of Boar's Head on 30th June 1916. More 'Sussex' blood must have been spilt in those few acres than anywhere in F&F.

Sounds like you and your friends had a brilliant time (weather too). Please, if there is any further info I can give you to assist your next trip please do PM me, always happy to help.

Cheers Jim

PS many a Merseyside man in 2 R Sx, was looking into one just the other day ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...
On ‎09‎/‎09‎/‎2013 at 09:39, Jim Hastings said:

Remembering today the 95 men of 2nd Royal Sussex who made the Supreme Sacrifice during the Brigade attack on Wood Lane trench, amongst them local man, 19 year old G/8267 Pte Charles Eastwood of Buxted. 154 men were also wounded. It was the highest losses 2 Royal Sussex suffered since Aubers Ridge and Loos in 1915.

The attack was the first made by Pte Walter 'Josh' Grover, who recorded his experience with the IWM :

http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80010219

(reel 2)

RIP

Jim

 Remembering this evening the 2nd Royal Sussex lads who gave their lives and suffered horrific wounds this day a century ago. I had the honour to pay tribute to them at Wood Lane a few weeks ago, see the ground they advanced across and laid a cross with the photos of two local men, Pte Charles Eastwood and LCpl Harry Potter, on Wood Lane between the area of the 2nd Sussex objective. I'll never forget it, nor the men who gave their all that day. May they all rest in peace, wherever they lie.

 

RIP :poppy:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The bare slope to the right of High Wood, with the NZ Memorial on the right centre horizon. The edge of the wood is just visible on the left edge of the picture.

 

Not forgotten,

 

Pete.

Wood Lane area for Hastings.JPG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Remembered always Jim :poppy:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I listened to Josh Grovers account again after posting last night, and recalling my view of the battlefield as so wonderfully presented by Pete above, thanks Pete, to think for Josh it was covered with the bodies of the Highlanders of 1st Brigade and shell holes for the attackers to negotiate through the machine gun and shell fire . . . And to think that 2nd Sussex had just been refitted after being pulled out of the line after earlier assaults on High Wood only 150 men left, and most of those new men replacing the battalions losses had only been with them a few days before their first Over The Top and being thrown at Wood Lane! Amazing young men. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...