The 26 March 1917 saw a number of Territorial Force battalions of the Essex Regiment commited to their first major action of the First World War. Forming the Territorial Brigade of the 54th Division, the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Battalions of the Essex Regiment had previously seen service at Gallipoli and Egypt before the battle.
As the wider attack ground on, the 161 [Essex] Brigade were ordered into the attack, with Green Hill as their objective. Despite heavy casualties among the infantry, the position was taken, as was much of the ridge.
Under counterattacks from the Turkish forces, confusion crept into the British commanders, with units moving around the battlefield, sometime to "improve" the postion, sometimes to conform with the believed movement of other units. At some point during the night of 26th/27th March, the 161 [Essex] Brigade received orders to withdraw. With daybreak the Brigade was ordered to advance and reoccupy the position. After withstanding at least two Turkish counterattacks, the Divison was withdraw into a defensive position to the west of Wadi Ghazze.
Casualties within the Brigade are recorded in the Brigade's history as: 4th Bn- 463; 5th Bn- 341; 6th Bn 345 [across 26 & 27 March] 7th Bn 228.
A cross marking the sacrifice of the Brigade was erected by the men.
One of the casualties was Harry Wood, having enlisted [with his brother] with the 5th Bn, he was wounded in the back, during the attack on the 26th, lying out on the battlefield till the next day. He was to recover from his wounds, returning to the battalion and being wounded a second time.