The 17th (Northern) Division on the Somme

17th Division, Somme 1916

Wayne Osborne

Hardback (648 pages)

ISBN 978-1-9999356-1-0

Price: £28.00 (+ £3.50 p&p)

This special edition hardback combines revised versions of Quadrangles, Delville Wood and Zenith along with additional information and an extra section about the beginning of the Campaign. This new edition brings together the 17th (Northern) Division’s service in the Somme Campaign from June to December, 1916.

The 17th (Northern) Division was a ‘Kitchener’ Division, that is made up of the volunteers who had flocked to the Colours, some prompted to join up by the now iconic Kitchener posters and others by newspaper ads when war broke out in 1914. It was one of the second wave of divisions and was created on September 11, 1914 and therefore, known as a K2 division. It deployed to France and Flanders in July 1915 and was engaged in heavy fighting at the Bluff in Belgium in February 1916.

It arrived on the Somme in June 1916 and spent the rest of the year on that front and was involved in much of the serious fighting during the campaign. At Quadrangle Support Trench near Mametz Wood, at Delville Wood, which it was falsely accused by GHQ of losing. Then at the end of the campaign it struggled in the mud at Le Transloy and captured Zenith Trench much to the appreciation of GHQ. By November 1916 the division had ceased to be a volunteer unit and many conscripts were in the ranks, but it was by then an effective, solid and trustworthy British Army Division.


The 17th (Northern) Division on the Somme

6 – 11 July 1916

Wayne Osborne

Paperback (252 pages)

2nd Edition. ISBN 978-0-9564439-2-2

Price: £9.99 (+ £3.50 p&p*)

The story of the Battle of the Somme was not just about one day in July. Not every unit was ‘strung up on the wire’ on the first day of the battle and the attack was not totally stalled. There had been horrendous casualties but on the right flank, since 1 July, the British Army was advancing against a withdrawing enemy.

The conditions around Quadrangle Trench and Quadrangle Support Trench were dreadful, the rain was torrential and the mud deep. This section of the line, between Mametz Wood and Contalmaison was the scene of bitter fighting and heavy losses on both sides. Despite the weather, severed communications, hopeless piecemeal attacks and having to fight uphill, the 17th (Northern) Division did what it was ordered to do. The battalions pushed on and took their objectives.

This was the 17th (Northern) Division’s first tour of duty in the Somme battle. The account has been pieced together using War Diaries from The National Archive and unpublished papers from the Imperial War Museum. This is the beginning of the story of a Kitchener Division on the Somme.

Delville Wood

The 17th (Northern) Division on the Somme

1 – 14 August 1916

Wayne Osborne

Paperback (312 pages)

ISBN 978-0-9574459-0-1

Price: £9.99 (+ £3.50 p&p*)

The 17th (Northern) Division comprised the 6th Dorsets, 7th Green Howards, 7th East Yorks, 10th West Yorks, 7th Borders, 7th Lincolns, 8th South Staffords, 10th Notts & Derbys, 9th Duke of Wellington’s, 9th Northumberland Fusiliers and the 12th Manchesters.

For two weeks in August 1916 the Division and its support units held the line in the burning ruins of Longueval and the splintered remains of Delville Wood.

Pounded by the guns of both sides the Division, newly reinforced by green, untrained troops after the fighting of early July, was called upon to hold the line and assault well defended enemy positions.


The 17th (Northern) Division on the Somme

August - December 1916

Wayne Osborne

Paperback (176 pages)

ISBN 978-0-9574459-9-4

Price: £9.99 (+ £3.50 p&p*)

Captain O’Hanlon noted that the men treated no-man’s-land “with hilarious disrespect.” Lieutenant Hoyte agreed, writing that at Gommecourt, in August and September, “The whole operation seemed to be absolutely playing at war …”

In November, Captain Mozley recalled that “the continuous bark of the guns seemed to resemble St Vitus-like arpeggios played, staccato, upon a gigantic piano, while the scream of the shells was like a devil’s chorus far up in the scale.” At Le Transloy, in the ocean of mud, lashed by rain and sleet, it was difficult to avoid Trench Foot let alone keep up the offensive spirit. Yet, somehow, the soldiers did.