The Somme

Below is a larger map of the Corbie area.

Note: This is an interactive Google Map. By utilising the zoom-in function ( + button located in top left corner of map), you will obtain a closer view of the map, with location markers distrubuted and individually visible.

The canal at Corbie. Much in the way of supplies came through here.
However, there were a lot of men who would soon be left here permanently… Lt Roseby of HQ Staff, 1 SAIB.
And Lt CLH Mulcahy of 2nd Regt, B Coy.  DOW on 9 July, after being hit by shrapnel in Bernafay wood…
Maj La Touche – Congreve VC .  His father, Lt Gen W N Congreve was head of XIII Corps, and was awarded a VC at the battle of Colenso in the Boer war.
Shown below is a Google map covering the area between Corbie on the Somme river, and Talus Boise, just outside the hamlet of Carnoy. The route that 2nd Regt followed is shown by the red line. A lot of this movement was dictated by transport availability windows in the area which was extremely congested.
Below is a larger map of the Corbie/ Talus Boise area.

Note: This is an interactive Google Map. By utilising the zoom-in function ( + button located in top left corner of map), you will obtain a closer view of the map, with location markers distrubuted and individually visible.

The adjoining French sector at Suzanne.
The Somme at the junction of the British and French sectors…
Inevitably, a cemetery nearby.  Grove Town was a supply dump where 2nd regiment bivouacked after leaving Corbie, and marching north east over the Mourlancourt ridge. There was no “ town “ as such.
About a km  toward Bray, looking back toward Grove Town, on the road to Bray travelled by 2nd Regt. This was all rear area but was within reach of German artillery.
Looking forward, from the same position, the road to Bray. The land is deceptively hilly in this region. The regiment did not enter Bray proper, just entered through the northernmost outskirts and then headed northeast.
Passed through the northern outskirts of Bray.  Same road as 2nd Regt.  On the way to Bronfay farm, view Looking back at the village of Bray. The river is just behind the ridge in the background.
Billon Wood from the east.  A Bivouac place for units, before passing the checkpoint at Bronfay farm a few hundred metres behind and to the right of this view of Billon Wood. The road from Bray past Bronfay farm lies behind Billon Wood from this position.
Trigger wood from Bronfay farm ,  This view is on the Bray to Bronfay Farm road once more, as walked by 2 Regiment. The Regiment bivouacked here on 3 July.
Bronfay farm 2016.  And yet,  another cemetery. There are over 700 in the entire Somme area.
A few km`s beyond Bronfay farm. The road leading to Maricourt ridge, and the village of Carnoy.  Looking toward Carnoy.  Another long march for 2nd Regt.
Arrived ! – or almost. Maricourt ridge.  Carnoy is immediately to the left, about 500m down the slope.
The southern outskirts of Carnoy. A few trees can be seen here, the remnants of a copse known as Caftet Wood, within which was a famous dressing known as “Minden Post” There was a lot of British artillery in this area in July 1916. The front line on 1 July was near here.
A few hundred meters north-east of Carnoy – Talus Boise. The village lies to the left of this view. 2nd Regt camped here after the long march from Corbie/Grove Town/Bray The front line was less than 2 km`s away ( behind this photo ) at that time ( 4 July 1916).
Standing at the western edge of Talus Boise looking north. About 2 km`s away lies the village of Montauban. In July 1916, Montauban had been shelled into little more than a white stain on the ground…What is seen in the background was rebuilt after 1918.
 Inside Talus Boise. A long , narrow wood. Supply dump and dressing station. 2nd regiment spent as much time here as Delville Wood. ( 4 – 8 July ) and  (10 – 13 July )
A narrow gauge railway line between Albert and Guillemont ran through here. ( The track bed is faintly visible ). It was used by the British to evacuate wounded in a south westerly direction to Albert, and bring up supplies back to Talus Boise, and eventually Bernafay Wood & Trones Wood.
About midway through the wood, headed north in the direction of Montauban.
Used as a bivouac.
And rest area…
Spare pillow if required.
 For a better overview perspective, the view from Maricourt ridge, overlooking Talus Boise. On 7 July, 2nd A and C Coy`s left the northern tip of the wood and descended down onto the tracks, whose path ( today ) is shown as a row of low bushes curving to the right. This area was known as Train Alley. The wood in the background about 4 Km`s distant is Bernafay Wood.
The route of 2nd regiment from 7 July was to Bernafay Wood and back to Talus Boise on 11 July. On 13/14 July advance to Montauban and on 15 July, enter Delville Wood.
The Talus Boise to Delville Wood sector

Note: This is an interactive Google Map. By utilising the zoom-in function ( + button located in top left corner of map), you will obtain a closer view of the map, with location markers distrubuted and individually visible.

Further northeast, standing near the site of the destroyed former German command post, the “ Glatz Redoubt “.  Looking WnW. Train alley. Talus Boise is to the left (West) and Briqueterrie / Bernafay Wood to the right (East).
Turned the camera to the right( east ) from the same spot. Train alley is just to the left of the picture. In the foreground ahead is a heap of earth and brush that was an old pre war brickworks, known as “ The Briqueterrie “ and farther behind is the southern third of Bernafay Wood. One of the favourable factors in this area for the British, was that French heavy artillery smashed the brickworks and a nearby German strongpoint known as the Glatz redoubt before the attack began on 1 July.
The remains of the brickworks close up. There was fierce fighting here on 1 July. Several hundred Germans are entombed below ground here. It`s not clear why the earth is piled up like this.
Standing at the Brickworks and looking in a north easterly direction, at the south western corner of Bernafay Wood. Visible is traffic on the Maricourt/Longueval road…
On the extreme right is the building of the former station.
Close up near the station building, which despite it`s name is in a clearing in the south of Bernafay Wood. Before WW1, the narrow gauge rail ran from Albert, through Talus Boise and along Train alley past this station. Next stop Trones wood and Waterlot farm…
We have travelled about 800 m north now and are entering the northern end of Bernafay Wood. Here is the northern entrance to the wood walking due south. The train station lies at the other end of the wood. We are slowly walking towards it.
50 m inside the northern boundary of Bernafay, still moving south.  2nd A Coy was deployed here, and lost about 60 men in this area due to heavy shelling.
The floor of the wood is deceptively uneven, and still full of shell holes…
In this northern sector ( about 50 m further south ), there was an old quarry, which was used as a medical triage point and shelter.
Shown below is the place where those who did not succeed the triage ended up. Bernafay Wood cemetery, which is just across the road ( west ) from the quarry position. The only SA man buried here is no 2797 A E Craig, resident of Durban. Born in London in 1892. Most SA casualties of Bernafay wood are buried at Maricourt, or commemorated on the monument to the missing at Thiepval. Lt Mulcahy of 2nd Regt, B Coy is buried at Corbie( Picture 2 B ). In the background left can be seen the Montauban church steeple.
The centre of Bernafay .  2nd D Coy spent time here – and paid for it.  About 200m south of here is the start of where 2nd C Coy were badly mauled by shellfire.
Southern sector. A graveyard, softened by the passage of 100 years to the day. Shellholes all around. 2nd  Regt  C Coy suffered losses here, which I believe led to Col Tanner placing C Coy at the south of Delville Wood, the following week.
 Further south still, getting  close to the southern boundary of Bernafay.  C Coy Golgotha. The losses suffered here by A, C and to a lesser extent D Coy`s 2nd Regt, had a marked impact on the planning for Delville Wood. Overall about 180 men were wounded or killed here. . Because there were only 5 days between between the debacle at Bernafay wood and the entering of Delville Wood on 15 July, it gave little time to bring up reinforcements – such as they were. This is why I believe that Coy`s of 2 Regt were allocated the roles they were in Delville Wood, as a result of their relative strengths after Bernafay.
Having emerged at the extreme south east corner of Bernafay – finally, – looking east  is the southern extremity of Trones Wood. Nemesis of 4th regiment, among many others. The train station lies to our right.
We have moved to the extreme south of Trones wood. Just past the southern tip as seen in the image above. A memorial to officers and men of 18 Division ( Gen I. Maxse ) that captured Trones wood finally on 14 July, after atrocious slaughter. The capture of this wood on 14 July, allowed the attack on Delville Wood to become a proposition – at least in the minds of some.
Entering Trones wood from the south, just to the left ( west ) of the 18 Div. memorial. This is a gloomy place. Spirits do not rest easy here.
4 regiment fought bravely here, and lost many…
As we did previously with Bernafay Wood, we have moved from the extreme south of Trones to its northernmost tip. Running throught the centre of the picture was an old German trench system known as “ Montauban Alee` “ and was occupied by a detachment of  2nd D Coy for 2 days between 9 July and 11 July 1916. There were several German machine gun positions in this portion of the wood.
 Changing location once more. This time, standing directly at the “ spear Tip “ or northernmost point of Trones Wood, looking back southward along its western edge. A grove of trees connects Trones and Bernafay today.
From same position at the northern tip of Trones Wood, I spin on my heel 180 degrees and look north. There it is… Delville Wood. At the foot of the wood would have been 2nd Regt, C Coy positions in July 1916.
And about halfway between Trones and Delville Woods, to the right ( east ) lies a rusted old building. It is adjacent to what was German strongpoint in a pre war sugar factory,  known as Waterlot Farm.
After their mauling in Bernafay wood 8 – 10 July, 2nd regiment retired back to Talus Boise to lick their wounds. They remained there until 13July and then decamped to just south of Montauban.  After the initial attack on Delville wood was cancelled on 13 July due to tough German resistance at Trones, the all clear was given around midnight on 14 July. I am standing just outside Montauban looking along the road 2 & 3 SAIR marched, early on 15 July. On the right of the picture about a quarter of the width from the right edge is the northern tip of Bernafay wood, blending into the broad mass of Trones wood further left  (east ) . On the left, just beyond the tip of Trones, one can see Waterlot farm and the first few houses to the south of Longueval…
About 100 metres further along the Montauban/Longueval track. On the right Trones. On the left, Delville wood. This road was marched down by 2nd and 3rd regiments in the darkness of the early morning of 15 July 1916. For most of those men, it was their last road.
We have relocated to the north now, into the northern part of the village of Longueval, looking south for a reverse perspective…
In the centre of Longueval. In the distance on the left is Trones and on the right the grove of trees connecting Trones and Bernafay.Panning a little to the right ( west ) –  is Bernafay in the background.
 We have left Longueval and are standing to the north of the village. The New Zealand memorial is directly behind us. This area was part of the German trench line overlooking Delville Wood. It was from this direction that the problems really arose for 2nd Regt on 15 July 1916.
Looking up the slope directly behind us. The New Zealand memorial. To the left of picture, High wood. Note how deceptively hilly this area really is. The Germans consistently sited their trenches on high ground overlooking their enemies.
An aerial drone shot of the north. In the centre of this picture is the village of Longueval. In the background, the distinctive spear shape of Trones ( left ) and  Bernafay to its right. The grove of trees linking Trones and Bernafay is clearly visible. To the right of Bernafay can be seen the village of Montauban. Between Montauban and Longueval can be seen a few scattered dots of trees. That was the march route from Montauban  early on the morning of 15 July by 2nd & 3rd regiments.
Down,  onto the Flers road. This road represents the northern boundary of the wood. On the lower right can faintly be seen the yield sign where the road to the New Zealand memorial ( which we have just left ) and this join together, north of Longueval .  On the left is Delville Wood – the exit of Strand Street is about 30 m away behind us on the left.
Further east along the Flers road. What would have been the exit of Strand Street in 1916 is on the extreme lower left.
The boundary fence today. The 1916 exit of Strand Street is just to the right of picture.

Moving east along the Flers Road toward the village of Flers. Delville Wood cuts back sharply here to the south of the road. This was A Company’s northern position in the wood.

Regent street exit as it was in 1916 is centre picture. About ¾ of the picture length( rightwards ) was the remainder of 2A Coy position, and the left hand side or balance was occupied by 2D Coy.. It was in this area that the real fatigue as a result of repeated German counter attacks set in…
The extreme north east corner. 2D Coy position.
Moving further east just past the north eastern extremity… 2 D Coy position ran along the eastern boundary to approximately  south of the rubbish pile in centre.. To the left of that were 3rd regiment D Coy positions. Noticeable to the left ( east ) of the wood, is quite a pronounced depression along which Germans were able to infiltrate under cover of darkness. This added to D Coy`s problems on the night of 15 July 1916.