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Terry Carter

Cavalry at High Wood

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Terry Carter

On the evening of 14th July, 1916, the 1st South Staffs and the 2nd Bn The Queens set off from the vicinity of Bazentin le Petit to take High Wood.

At the same time the 7th Dragoon Guards, 20th Deccan Horse and the Machine Gun Squadron (9th Secunderabad Cavalry Bde. 2nd Indian Cav. Div.) formed up in low open ground near to the Crucifix (on main road near bazentin le Grand) and charged towards the open ground to the right hand side of High Wood.

Nowadays, when I stand on the main road with Caterpillar Valley cemetery behind me and get a good panoramic view of the area I try to envisage how this cavalry charge might have looked. Even if the 7th Dragoon Guards and the 20th Deccan horse were not up to full strength I still reckon there could have been at least 700 horses, or more, galloping past what is now Thistle Dump Cemetery. One Squadron of the 7th Dragoon Guards and 20th Deccans had Lances the other squadrons had swords... what a sight it must have made. Can you imagine the sound of 700 horses thundering along the ground?

Am I right in thinking at least 700 horses? Does any person in forum land know of any eye-witness accounts of this action or memoirs of men who may have taken part?

Thanks

Terry

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charlesmessenger

Terry

The Marquess of Anglesey `A History of British Cavalry' Volume 8 contains a good account, including firsthand recollections.

Charles M

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Paul Reed

Yes, it must have been quite a site. I often wonder what the Germans made of it - they could hardly have been a unit trained to deal with cavalry, and to see that many horses cantering towards you must have resulted in some panic?

I remember many years ago author Terry Norman gave a talk on High Wood at a WFA meeting, following the publictaion of his book. He stated in that talk that as a result of the book he had received several new first hand accounts - including one of the cavalry attack written by an officer who took part. As you know, Terry is now deceased, but his widdow is currently organising a reprint of his book - perhaps you can get in touch with her via his old publishers?

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