Portion of a German-made wooden cross from Dernancourt grave 'An Unknown Tommy'

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Corbie Albert Area, Dernancourt
Accession Number RELAWM00710
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Graphite, Wood
Maker Unknown
Place made France: Picardie, Somme, Corbie Albert Area, Dernancourt
Date made 1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

A length of wood from a grave cross with remnants of green paint and bearing the inscription in pencil, 'AN UNKNOWN TOMMY'.

History / Summary

Portion of one of two crosses found on the battlefield of Dernancourt. On 5 April 1918 a company from 48 Battalion AIF under the command of Captain D G C Cummings were engaged in battle with elements of the German Army's 50th (Prussian) Reserve Division. The battalion had held the railway embankment on the left of the sector but was nearly surrounded by the Germans. The unit made a fighting withdrawal with a few men lining the ravine on its left until it was out of danger of encirclement. When the Allies' advance recaptured the ground seven months later, two small wooden crosses were found on the edge of the ravine. C E W Bean, the official historian, referred to one of the crosses as 'one of the most valuable relics in the Memorial' because 'it is a monument to a magnificent fight, and the tribute comes from the most important source, the men against whom the Australians (48th Bn) were fighting'.