German-made wooden cross from Dernancourt grave 'Here lies a brave English warrior' : 48 Battalion, AIF

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Corbie Albert Area, Dernancourt
Accession Number RELAWM00734
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Wood
Location Main Bld: First World War Gallery: Western Front 1918: McDougall Tunic
Maker Unknown
Place made France: Picardie, Somme, Corbie Albert Area, Dernancourt
Date made April 1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Small wooden grave cross. Written in pencil on the cross piece is, 'Hier Liegt Ein Tapferer Englischer Krieger' (Here lies a brave English warrior).

History / Summary

This cross was 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 (shown in the diorama in the gallery) 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, regarded this cross 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'.