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Remembered Today:

Delville Wood


iona
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My apologies if this is a naive and irritating question, but if my South Staffs soldier was killed at Delville Wood and there are 3593 unidentified men at the cemetery, isn't he likely to be amongst them? If that's the case why would he be remembered at Thiepval and not Delville Wood (or both)?

Iona

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Iona,

No need to apologise for any question, thats what this and other forums are all about!

Is your man among those "Known Unto God" burials at Delville Wood Cemetery? It's possible, but that's all you can say. The Delville Wood Cemetery is a post-war concentration cemetery, so the burials there are not necessarily from the locality, although some probably are. The CWGC website lists cemeteries that were concentrated here.

Why not commemorated at Delville Wood? The memorial at Delviell Wood is a South African memorial, your man was (presumably) British, and so with no known grave is commemorated with other British soldiers who have no known grave on the Thiepval memorial. The CWGC website www.cwgc.org will give you more information on the cemeteries - go to the search function and select Cemeteries rather than casualties.

Alan

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There are also many unknowns formerly buried in Delville Wood in Serre Road No 1 and No 2 cemeteries - so he could even be there. We shall never know, which is why he is commemorated at Thiepval - which is the main memorial to the missing for the whole Somme area in 1916.

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The wood, why isn't it named Longueval Wood, like Mametz etc. I know of no Delville. Glidden may have the answer but book is at home.

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I believe it was the name of the family who owned it at some point; there is still a d'Elville who lives in Longueval today.

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Makes sense, thanks, will try to remember to see if there's an answer in Glidden's When The Barrage Lifts. A great title .

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The other answer to Iona's question is that the number of unidentified burials does not equate to the number of the missing. Martin Middlebrooks Somme Battlefields has a good section on such statistics at the rear. From the top of my head looking at the number of Missing, all of whom are commemorated at Thiepval and the number of unidentified burials leaves a shortfall of nearly 50% or half. Thus, Iona, of a given number of missing one would expect half to be buried as a "Known unto God" sadly the other half to be buried too deep or too fragmented for recovery after the war. Thus the chance of your S. Staffs soldier being a burial there is immediately reduced by 50%. He may be there but equally he may still lie somewhere about there. RIP

SG

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The South African Memorial at Delville Wood is the national memorial for the SA fallen of all wars but it bears no names.

Their WW1 missing from the Somme area are all on the Thiepval Memorial.

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That all makes sense. Thankyou. I'm still on a learning curve and discovering something new and pertinent each day. I appreciate the trouble you all take to help me out.

Best

Iona

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