Friday, February 18, 2011

Herleville Wood, France, 1918 - updated

Pte Arthur Beachcroft brought home this aerial photograph of Rosieres, France with a plan of battle marked on it.  This was Arthur's last engagement of the war, as he was wounded between Wood 2 and 1 at the top of the image, and made his way to the dressing station at R26d84 marked at the bottom of the image.  For Arthur's description of the plan, go here.  Click on the photo for a larger version.

On this day, at this place, Captain William Donovan Joynt won a VC.

Update:  Tim L  has helpfully pointed out that the photo was taken closer to Rainecourt than Rosieres.  The East-West Road shown in the photo is at the top of the map detail shown below:

 Map from the Maps page of the Australian Army website.


  1. Photos like this always get me. When you see photos of the war (esp WWI Western Front) on the ground, the country is so devastated you don't see beyond the devastation. However in photos like this, you suddenly see that it was "normal" countryside where it happened - and realise what it would have been like for you if something like this happened down a similar country road just near you. And suddenly war seems a little more real.

  2. And there is that quintessential avenue of populars, still casting a shadow, and the patchwork of fields. A squizzy at Google maps tonight reveals that the patchwork of fields is still there, but if I've got onto the right road, the poplars are gone, in some cases replaced by windmills.

  3. Although Arthur may have written Rosieres on the back of the map, it is actually Rainecourt middle right of the photo looking towards Herleville top right of the photo. On the 23rd August 1918, the 6th Bn was attacking through St Denis and St Martin Woods towards the Herleville Woods.
    Rosieres-en-Santerre is a couple of kilometres away to the south (right) of this photo.

  4. Thanks, time. I have now managed to identify that road on a battlefield map, a detail of which I have added to the website. I'll add a correction to the blog entry as well. Thanks for your interest.

  5. Thanks Lenore. I just happened across this while researching my Great Uncle who was killed at Herleville on 18/08/18 and supposedly recovered from a battlefield grave located roughly middle left of this photo along the track. I have this same photo from another source.

  6. Oh good, I've managed to add a typo to the comments now! Thanks, Tim. I appreciate the input.