Musa Qala, the dusty and impoverished district of northern Helmand province where Sgt. Brennan and his squad served, fell back under Taliban control in August, 2015. The strategically-important sector was hard won and saw some of the fiercest clashes between Western forces and the Taliban following the American-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Taliban graffiti shown here was scrawled on the walls of the District Center, which was under control of the insurgents, then the British, followed by the Americans, before the Taliban took it back in 2015.
***The village of Mametz was captured on July 2, 1916, the Battle of the Somme’s second day. Yet an advance into nearby Mametz Wood, although it was only lightly defended, was not undertaken for some days. From July 7-12, the 38th (Welsh) Division attacked through the broken trees of the wood. Its capture cost almost 4,000 British casualties, including 600 dead. The ground was littered with debris and both British and German bodies, as Graves discovered when he arrived in the wood only days after the end of the fighting.