9th-10th July 1916 Sunday & Monday
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“On Sunday July 9th, I marched on to the Minden Post. The 114th Brigade attacked Mametz Wood at dawn on 10th and we got orders to evacuate the wounded from the field of battle. Our artillery played Hell with the Hun alright and we did not sleep.
We were on the move at 2am on 10th July and marched through mud and dirt to a spot in the old German line called ‘The Triangle’, passing through the remains of the village of Carnoy. Our Dressing Station consisted of one filthy dug-out with a foot of water in it. Capt. Anderson and I with a few men remained here whilst Lieuts. Anderson and Buckly with the main body of the stretcher-bearers went further forward. Between three-thirty and four a.m., our guns bombarded the German position. The din in the valley – Happy Valley – it was named – was terrific and the flashes of the guns lit up the whole countryside. The noise of the shells swishing over our heads towards German territory seemed to be like a load pressing down on one’s head. Our attack on Mametz Wood was due to start at 4am. We got the first casualties in by 5 o’clock and had them coming down from the front line by the hundreds all day.
Capt. Anderson and I worked like niggers all day and had no time to take food until 3p.m., when we had a tin of tea and some bread and cheese, at the Divisional Rest Station behind us. It was most welcome and did us good. Some of our poor men were horribly wounded. The 14th Welsh got badly cut up, nearly all the officers being wounded. My friend Major Williams, was brought down to us on a stretcher, badly wounded in the abdomen. He must have been suffering agonies of pain, but was very cheery. He lived alright, but it was a miracle.
The 13th Welsh was badly hit too and my friend Major Edwardes (George Edwardes’ son) was killed. Colonel Rickets of the 10th Welsh was badly wounded in the thigh. Two Doctors were killed – Lawrence, of the 11th South Wales Borderers and Raymond Jones of the 129th Field Ambulance and David of the 131st Field Ambulance was wounded. Our Brigade captured the wood, but lost very heavily in the effort. Lots of Germans were captured and we had a few wounded Huns to deal with – they looked miserable enough and they were mostly very young.”
Find out about our connection with Dr Page and an introduction to his diary here
Join Dr Page’s grandson-in-law (and Westminster Guide) Ray Coggin on a Somme themed walk around Westminster on Thursday 14th July at 6pm. Ray’s walk includes personal references to both Dr Page and those who knew him. Book here
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