Tag Archives: Bazentin

Diary entries which mention Bazentin (“Bosantine”) and its woods, the location of some fighting during the Somme offensive.

2 August 1916; Wednesday

Slept pretty well. Orders to put up pack ready for inspection by C.O. Orders cancelled and ordered to clean waggons and pack up. Did some fatigue and the waggons went off. Had inspection at night and the C.O. read a letter from General Rowlandson1 saying that he appreciated the 19 Division’s work while with the 4th Army and he regretted to leave them. He referred to them as captors of La Boiselle and a great help in the village of Mametz and Bazentin.

  1. The General’s name was Rawlinson; communication with the troops was evidently not perfect. 

25 July 1916; Tuesday

Slept badly from lice and a big naval gun. Up at 6 o’clock. Marched up to Captain Johnson for breakfast and had it there. Marched off about 7.30, up to the trenches. Our squad (Bascombe, Houghton, Hall and I) in the aid post near the Bosantine [sic] Wood1. Not much to do all day excepting a few slight wounds and sick cases. About 9 o’clock at night a man walked in with an ugly shrapnel wound in his shoulder, a man with his skull smashed and one with a knee wound besides two smaller cases. Carried the worst ones to the dressing station on the road. Germans shelled all day but stopped while we were down. Had two cases of shell shock in all day. Very heavy journey down with the stretchers. Dark, heavy ground. Only 3 to a stretcher. Got back safely. Sergeant Fraser and Hall went with a walking case and found the German using gas shells. I stayed up until half past one.

  1. “Bosantine Wood”: There are two woods near the village of Bazentin, about 10km NE of Albert. These are shown on old maps as Bazentin-le-Petit wood (A) and Bazentin-le-Grand wood (B). ALL could have been referring to either of these although Bazentin-le-Petit wood (A on the map and, somewhat counter-intuitively, the larger of the two woods then as it is now) seems the more likely as it is more easily accessible from the road. It seems quite likely that ALL had never seen the name Bazentin in writing, at least up to the time when he wrote his diary entry for 25 July, and this could account for his spelling.