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Hywyn

Gareth

Re the 10th Bn on the 16th August.

War Diary states

16th August. The battalion moved into the Casement and Dublin Trenches, starting at 8.30 am. In the afternoon A and D Coys moved to Chimpanzee Trech, also two consoidation sections of C coy.

casualties. 3 Killed 4 wounded (names included in casualty list, 17th-19th August)

PM me your emails and I'll send you a scan.

hywyn

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huwrevans
Here's a link to the first page of the operational order for the attack on Mametz Wood:

http://swanseabattalion.net/index.php?opti...1&Itemid=62

Bernard

Hi Bernard, sorry to bother you, but do you have a copy of the map this 'op order' refers to? Or a copy of the artillery disposition for the attack?

Regards Huw

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Bernard_Lewis

Hi Huw. Have you seen the map earlier in the thread? That was used by an officer who was in the wood on 10 July 1916. I don't have an artillery map but you might be able to link stuff from the order to the letters that are on the map.

Bernard

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Garron

If I remember rightly from what I had read the points ABC... and so one are the artilery points.

I think its mentioned in Colin Hughes, Mametz, Lloyd George's Welsh Army at the Battle of the Somme then again it could be in the Battlefield Book Mametz Wood. Neither are with me in Swansea to check sadly.

Gaz

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huwrevans
Hi Huw. Have you seen the map earlier in the thread? That was used by an officer who was in the wood on 10 July 1916. I don't have an artillery map but you might be able to link stuff from the order to the letters that are on the map.

Bernard

Hi Bernard,

Thanks for that. Saw the map but was wondering if any of the arty barrage maps survived. I've seen some on other threads and was just wondering if any for Mametz had survived. Would it be possible for me to get a copy of the Op Order from you to add to the 38 Div Arty information I'm gathering (up to MIC W/2000 now :0) )?

Regards Huw

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Bernard_Lewis

Yes Huw. But its in the loft and I'm not around much this week (at home, that is). I'll have a dig around at the weekend.

Bernard

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geraint

Garethcaergwrle

Been away for a month!

Follow up to post #72

That attack was unsuccessful, they failed to take the edge of the wood. The 17th were then held in reserve and the 14th + 16th were to lead the attack on 10 July. During the 9th, the 17th RWF were crammed into reserve/communication trenches behind the Quadrangle trench area. Continuous German mortar and artillery fire probably took your man's life.

Ce la guerre!

Geraint

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huwrevans

There's a programe on S4C on Sunday 16 Nov at 7:30pm, it's in Welsh but subtitles are available - for those who do not yet speak the language of heaven ;0)

It's about the Welsh in the war (especially the Welsh language speakers) giving a lot of letters, photos and film clips form the period. Sunday's episode (a re-run of last nights) will cover the period before and including the attack on Mametz wood.

Worth a watch in my humble opinion.

Huw

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geraint
Bernard,

going back to your original posting, what did the lads sing ?

Mick D

Going through the Adsain Welsh medium newspaper for the Corwen area of NE Wales for August 1916, I came across this letter ( written in Welsh), printed in the paper. It's written by Pte EW Jones,, Brook St Corwen; belonging to the 16th RWF

"only 250 out of 1,000 of us were alive after we took the big woods at Mametz. As we were going over into the woods we were singing 'Beth sydd i mi yn y byd'..."

literally translated "What is left for me in this world"

I'm now looking for my copy of Emynau a Thonau (Hymns and Hymnsongs) for the rest of the words!

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geraint

Doesn't the irony hit you!? Oh dear dear dear. It makes me weep. Literally.

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clive_hughes
They sang several songs apparently, usually in Welsh. The two shown on this link were definitely sung - 'Jesu Lover of My Soul' and 'O Valiant Heart!'

They were the songs they would have sung in Sunday School and chapel.

http://swanseabattalion.net/index.php?opti...mp;limitstart=2

Bernard

hi Bernard,

just realised what you said in this quote. The singing of "Jesu lover of my Soul" has definitely been mentioned, by David Jones if no-one else.

However, after a little digging about, I'm given to understand that "O Valiant Hearts" wasn't written by John Stanhope Arkwright (1872-1954) until 1917. He was former MP for Hereford 1900-12 and was knighted 1934. It is definitely a WW1-related hymn, but became popular in the immediate aftermath. Rev. Charles Harris' tune to which it is commonly sung these days won out over a number of others which fit the metre.

If this is right, and it didn't exist at the time of Mametz Wood, what is the evidence for its being used as the units were waiting to attack?

LST_164

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Bernard_Lewis

I shall have to check!

Bernard

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Bernard_Lewis

LST_164 - you're right; I think I have assumed that the songs on the programme for the unveiling of the dragon were the songs sung at the time. Not so it seems given the date of composition of 'O Valiant Hearts'; apologies for the error.

Bernard

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clive_hughes

No apologies needed Bernard,

you never know, the info I dug up might have been wrong - it was worth my checking!

I'm hoping to be at the Memorial in 2 weeks, first time visit to the Somme. Any views on getting from that site (or Dantzig Alley Cemy) to White Trench or the Wood itself?

Regards,

LST_164

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geraint

Any info on 'Beth sydd imi yn y Byd'? It's not in Emynau a Thonnau.

Park near the Memorial, and as you stand at the Memorial facing the woods, White Trench is behind you and to your left. You need to climb up hill a little. The field was either grass or wheat, and probably mown/reaped leaving stubble for easy walking. (Five minutes max?)

Back at the Memorial - facing the Woods, and if you cross the fields where the 16th and 14thRWF were mown down, keeping to your left, and you come to where Sassoon did his bit a few days earlier. You can walk into the woods and follow the Rides towards the north, and bear right for Dantzig Alley. from there you can walk back to the Memorial.

I've been in a few times, and met the farmers. They don't mind you going as long as you don't destroy the crops! This time of year partridge shooting does occur. I'd advise you to wear a hi vis jerkin whilst in the woods! You are legally obliged to carry them in your car, so stuff it into your pocket when you reach the Memorial!

Mwynha!

Geraint

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Dragon
Any info on 'Beth sydd imi yn y Byd'? It's not in Emynau a Thonnau.

I have a 19c Methodist hymn book (Welsh) and I'm looking for you. Unfortunately the index has fallen off...

Gwyn

Edit - can't see it.

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geraint

Thanks Gwyn! You're a treasure! :)

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Soren

I thought I'd share this image, it depicts the memorial in question with ghost soldiers attacking

post-4474-1245099613.jpg

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Bernard_Lewis

Nice one!

Bernard

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CGM

Beth sydd i mi yn y byd was written by Morgan Rhys [1716-1779]

He was born near Llandovery and is buried in Llanfynydd churchyard where there is a monument to him.

I can't help you with the words I'm afraid, but hopefully this will help you track them down.

Regards

CGM

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Dragon
Morgan Rhys Then you'd think his work ought to be in a Welsh Methodist hymn book. The one I have has a date of 1844 in it (though it may have been printed later) so I'll have another look.

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horrocks

I have been paying close attention to this fascinating thread. I don't possess (to my best knowledge) a drop of Welsh blood, but have developed an increasing interest in Mametz Wood and the events of 4th-14th July 1916 which took place there. As a name that has existed somewhere in my subconcious since I was a boy, I was intensely fascinated to find myself there whilst on a guided tour of the Somme in 2003, my first. As so often, it is a shock to find how different these tranquil, verdant places are from the one that exists in you imagination, for in your preconception you only see barren, pitted landscapes and ragged stumps where woods once stood.

Inevitably, our brief visit centred on the dragon and Flatiron Copse Cemetery, but I was able to walk across the strip and ventured a few feet into the wood, where I experienced exactly the same sense of darkness, silence and foreboding that other posters to this thread have mentioned - it really is intense and unsettling, and I hurried back out again. I recall the slight dip at the tree line, and the extraordinary thickness of the wood itself.

However, it is really more recently that this interest, fired by that visit, has begun to crystallise, and the reason for this is the unusual number of accounts which exist from those few days, and the degree to which they seem to cross reference accurately. The key to this is, of course, the presence there of Sassoon and Robert Graves who immortalised their experiences not only in detailed accounts, but in poetry, some of it deeply disturbing, the vivid and detailed account of Llewelyn Wyn Griffith, who felt himself responsible for his own brother's death there, but most of all, of David Jones's semi-autobiographical account in poetry and prose from "In Parenthesis".

I believe this to be amongst the most extraordinary and precious pieces in all of English literature, and it staggers me that it is not better known. How much better a subject for schoolchildren to study in English lessons it would be than some of the awful, bland, meaningless poetry to which they are subjected. He builds in your imagination the sense of shock, of surreal disconnection, of time stretching and retracting, of moments of vivid recollection and those that disappear altogether, that must be experienced by soldiers in action, as indeed it is for anybody that experiences an act of sudden and intense violence, and he does so by flipping from the present to the past, from the first person to the third person, from the refined chaos of prose to the more measured pace of poetry, within the same passage. He describes the surroundings with the vivid intensity of a countryman's eye, and with the immaculate use of the most beautiful words, and he draws variously on English literature, Welsh folklore, and religious iconography.

He speaks of Cliff Trench, and of 'the four bright stones at the turn of Wood Support' which, painfully wounded in the legs, his alter-ego Private Ball drags himself past, agonising over whether he should leave his rifle, 'leave it under the oak, leave it for the salvage bloke' as instead it 'hangs at his neck like the mariners white oblation..troubling his painful crawling like a fugitives irons'.

I apologise for borrowing an earlier poster's photo, taken from further up the hill than Jones would have been, but consider this;

tmpphpznKfLf.jpg

"The gentle slopes are green to remind you of South English places, only far wider and flatter spread,

and grooved and harrowed criss-cross whitely,

and the disturbed subsoil heaped up albescent.

Across this undulated board of verdure chequered bright,

when you look to left and right,

small, drab bundled pawns severally make effort,

moved in tenuous line,

and if you looked behind - the next wave came slowly, as successive surfs

creep in to dissipate on a flat shore;

and to your front, stretched long laterally

and receded deeply,

the dark wood."

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geraint

CGM and Gwyn

Thanks both of you for that. Another piece of the jigsaw filled.

Toby

Welcome to the forum; and even more so to this partiucular thread. You are right in your summary regarding the influences that Mametz Wood has on Anglo Welsh poetry and literature. In this context I would regard both Sassoon and Graves as Anglo Welsh.

The Wood does hold the same fascination 93 years later to a few members of this forum. In Wales; Mametz Wood was the Armagedon for the young men of countless towns and villages. The figures for my town has already been posted. For my family as well, it was the place where four members saw the war come to an abrupt end. It also signified the end of an innocent era in Wales. In which other battle did soldiers who were mainly Welsh speakers, regularly attended chapel and church, seldom drank, never swore, faced such severe losses; and continued relentlessly to victory, singing hymns! Thius is the pathos about them that appealed so much to both Sassoon and Graves! This battle was a slaughter of innocence never seen elsewhere.

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clive_hughes

Geraint,

I have been googling a bit with regard to the Mametz hymn Beth sydd i mi yn y byd by Morgan Rhys.

A comment from The Presbyterian Hymnal (a modern work) surprised me by stating that Joseph Parry originally wrote the tune Aberystwyth (publ. 1879) to fit the words of this same hymn!

This means that the tune David Jones could hear as he waited to attack (could he hear the exact words, given distance and what was going on around him?) would have fitted both Wesley's Jesu Lover of My Soul and its Welsh equivalent, and Rhys' Beth sydd i mi yn y byd...food for thought?

Rhys' work isn't in the most recent collection of Welsh hymns Emynau Ffydd, so I'm still working on the words and alternative tunes.

LST_164

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Gheluvelt

Heartbreaking. I believe my Great Uncle (enlisted in the 6th SWB, but transferred to the 5th) was at Mametz, but killed in 1917 near Serre. This is a place that I am being drawn to more and more, not only because of family connections, but also because of my own Welshness (for want of a better word).

I think Geraint's post #98 captures my feelings exactly and more eloquently than I.

Regards

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