History page

Visit of Delville Wood



37 recommendations / 10 attributions


Private William Michael  HEALY

1st SAI, D Coy

Recommended for the DCM. On the 16th July, he stuck to his Lewis gun after the rest of the team were killed or wounded. When his gun jammed he repaired the damage under heavy fire and continued alone. He served his gun alone the whole day in front the parapet in the face of terrific fire. He carried it safely back to the trench.

Killed in action on the 12th April 1917 during the battle of Arras as Corporal.

Rest in peace in Athies Communal Cemetery Extension, Pas-de-Calais.

Private Albert Johannes LOUBSER

1st SAI

Recommended for his conduct as stretcher-bearer between the 16th and 18th July in Delville Wood. He carried out his arduous duties under severe artillery and machine-gun fire. During a heavy shrapnel barrage his officers witnessed him carrying two wounded men from Longueval to Bernafay Wood.

Wounded in the back on the 12th October 1917. Died of wounds on the 17th October 1917.

Rest in peace in Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Belgium.

Sergeant George E.  MARSHALL

2nd SAI, D Coy

Recommended for the MM and awarded the DCM. Wounded in Delville Wood.

Sergeant John NAISBY

3rd SAI, D Coy

Recommended for the VC by Lieutenant-Colonel Thackeray and awarded the DCM and the Montenegran silver medal for merit.

"Conspicuous bravery under fire at Delville Wood during July 15-18 1916, when he constantly fearlessly exposed himself under a heavy artillery, machine-gun and rifle fire to assist the wounded, fetch water and ammunition etc., from Longueval and in the wood. When himself wounded (severely) refusing help to the dressing station and when wounded helping another wounded man away. His cheery fearlessness and conspicuous bravery under heavy fire for ten days was an oustanding example of heroism."

Wounded on the 18th July, he was discharged as medically unfit.

Regimental Sergeant Major Elgar Edward PREBBLE

2nd SAI

Missing in action on the 18th July 1916 in Delville Wood.

Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial (Somme).

Lance Corporal William H. SHAPCOTT

3rd SAI, D Coy

Recommended for his action on the 15th July 1916 during the taking of Delwille Wood. Wounded by a gunshot at his right elbow.

Wounded in March 1917. Promoted Sergeant in the South African Native Labour Corps in July 1917. Wounded again in June 1918.

Private George Garnet TANNER

2nd SAI, D Coy

Recommended for the MM but was awarded the DCM for his bravery at Delville Wood as despatch runner.  On the 18th July, he was sent back at a critical moment to explain the serious position the company was placed. He had to penetrate a heavy barrage and, although badly shell-shocked, succeeded to reach the battalion headquarters. Returning with the reply, he was blown up and buried alive, leaving only his legs protruding. Comrades pulled him out and he continued, giddy and concussed. Tanner returned later to Thackeray strongpoint.

Was of the last South African group relieved on the 20th July at Delville Wood.

Died in 1983.

Acting Company Sergeant Major James MacAulay THOMSON

2nd SAI, C Coy

When his officer was wounded on the 19th July at Delville Wood, he took in charge the company and hold his position, not far from Thackeray's position, with only 15 men. Was of the last South African group relieved on the 20th July at Delville Wood.

Commissioned after Delville Wood, he was mortally wounded at the Butte de Warlencourt, dying on the 17th October 1916.

Rest in peace in St Sever Cemetery, Rouen.

Private Nicholas Johannes VLOK

2nd SAI, B Coy

Recommended for his bravery at Delville Wood and mentioned in despatches.  On the 15th July, he was wounded on the right knee. Although losing an important amount of blood, he continued to fight in first line. He received later a new wound on his back.

Staff Sergeant Lionel Henry WALSH

South African Medical Corps, Brigade headquarters

Recommended for the VC. At Bernafay Wood, during three days, he worked among the wounded, dragging them to shelter, dressing their wounds and feeding them with iron rations which he took from the dead. He had an utter disregard for his own life and worked under conditions which precluded others from leaving cover.

Commissioned as a Second-Lieutenant in April 1917 and transferred to the 7th Bn, London Regiment.