30 June 2009

The Boar's Head - 30th June 1916

In Remembrance

It can be all too easy, looking purely at army service numbers, to lose sight of the fact that behind each number is a man and behind that man, people who cared for him.

On this day, 93 years ago, the South Down battalions suffered heavily in a diversionary attack at Richebourg L'Avoue on a system of trenches known as The Boar's Head. I have written about this in more detail in Chailey's Somme on my Chailey 1914-1918 website.

Although I have written in my narrative that fifteen officers and 364 Other Ranks were killed, Soldiers Died in the Great War reveals the following statistics for the 30th June 1916.

11th Battalion (1st South Down) - 2 officers, 26 men
12th Battalion (2nd South Down) - 4 officers, 136 men
13th Battalion (3rd South Down) - 7 officers, 159 men

More would die of their wounds in the days to come.

And so on this day, I remember the men behind the numbers, the men of Sussex who exactly 93 years ago, laid down their lives for a diversion.

"At the Going Down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM."

The photograph of poppies on the Sussex south downs at Winton, near Alfriston, comes from East Sussex County Council's website.

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