‘Tin Hats’ to host bat­tle cen­te­nary

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - JAN CRONJE

CAPETONIANS will mark the 100th an­niver­sary of the bat­tle of Delville Wood to­mor­row at a cer­e­mony at the Delville Wood Memo­rial in the Com­pany’s Gar­den.

The fe­ro­cious bat­tle took place be­tween July 15 and 20, 1916, in a wood in north­ern France out­side the vil­lage of Longue­val.

It formed part of the huge Somme Of­fen­sive launched by the Bri­tish on July 1. Bri­tish forces suf­fered 60 000 ca­su­al­ties on that day.

The all-vol­un­teer 1st South African Bri­gade fought a six­day bat­tle against Ger­man forces, suf­fer­ing hor­ren­dous ca­su­al­ties. Of the 3 153 South African sol­diers who were or­dered to take and hold the wood at all costs, only about 750 made it out alive. Of these, fewer than 150 were un­in­jured.

To­mor­row’s Memo­rial Pa­rade and Ser­vice, which be­gins at 11am, is hosted by the Cape Western Provin­cial Dugout of the Mem­o­rable Or­der of Tin Hats (MOTH).

To­mor­row the MOTH will be sup­ported at the cer­e­mony by the Depart­ment of Mil­i­tary Vet­er­ans and the Cape Town Ri­fles Reg­i­ment, known as the Dukes, who fought in the bat­tle 100 years ago.

To­mor­row’s ser­vice in Cape Town fol­lows Tues­day’s memo­rial ser­vice in France, which took place at the South African Na­tional Memo­rial Delville Wood.

The memo­rial stands on the site of the bat­tle.

jan.cronje@inl.co.za

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