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City of Joburg honours fallen heroes of the Battle of Delville Wood Print E-mail
18 July 2017
Wreathlaying

The City of Johannesburg’s Speaker of Council, Cllr Vasco da Gama, has described the fallen heroes of the Battle of Delville Wood in France during World War I as men who “symbolised valour and sacrifice”.

On Sunday July 16, Cllr Da Gama attended the 101st anniversary of the Battle of Delville Wood held at the Scottish Memorial in Parktown, Johannesburg, to honour the 2 500 South African soldiers who perished in several days of fighting in July 1916.

The Speaker graced the event in his capacity as the first patron of the Johannesburg Veterans and Regiments Association.

The commemoration service was also attended by various military regiments and associations, army infantries and the South African Legion of Military Veterans. As the veterans performed a march-past, they were called to attention and formed a parade.

Speaker Da Gama complimented the fallen heroes for an outstanding performance and thanked them for their service. He then led a wreath-laying ceremony in their honour.

A brigade numbering 160 officers and 5 648 soldiers of other ranks left for England from Cape Town and were quartered in Hampshire, where for two months they underwent training.

After being ordered to take and hold Delville Wood at all costs, the all-volunteer First South African Brigade entered the dense forest and, despite being surrounded and constantly being attacked, achieved what had been asked of them, albeit at great cost.

The casualties were massive. The brigade was virtually destroyed. “To South Africans, the name Delville Wood recalls with pride the heroic deeds of their forebearers,” Cllr Da Gama said.

 

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Last Updated on 18 July 2017