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Images Dated 5th August 2007

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Aucklands advance from its battalion headquarters Featured 5 Aug 2007 Print

Aucklands advance from its battalion headquarters

This drawing relates to an incident on the 14th/15th September 1916 and is described in a book entitled A Saga of the Sword by Austin F. Britten, published by Arrowsmith, London 1928. The chapter, entitled The End of an Epoch, contains the following map reference : S11 b4.9. This is right in the middle of the area of the 2nd Battalion Auckland Regiment which was in No-Man's Land, just a shade short by 50 yards or so of the German Front Line in Coffee Lane. And, no doubt, Matania is attempting to portray an incident in the initial phase of the Auckland's advance from its battalion headquarters, slightly on the right of the fork (La Forche) which is where the New Zealand memorial now stands. It would also appear that four tanks were allocated to the New Zealand Division and all four passed this way towards the fork before spreading out. They were from D Company and were numbered D8, D10, D11 and D12. The actual image was never used in the book (which in the end did not have any illustrations) but no doubt Matania was asked by Austin Britten to produce this incident at the above map reference. The name of the book was written on the back of the picture. Fortunino Matania, Ri (1881-1963). One of the most accomplished realistic illustrators and artists of his time, his wartime work was immensely popular and appeared in nearly every major news magazine, Allied, Neutral and Central Powers alike. Date: 1916

© David Cohen Fine Art/Mary Evans Picture Library