6 July 1916
The 1st South African Infantry Brigade was recruited at Potchefstroom in August and September 1915 for service overseas. It was comprised of four battalions (or regiments) of infantry. The Brigade, numbering 160 officers and 5 648 other ranks, embarked for England from Cape Town. During December 1915, it was decided to send the South African brigade to Egypt. Their brief campaign there was successful and they were sent to France to train in trench warfare. On 31 May 1916, the brigade left its training area and marched 72 km to the Somme area. The ill-fated Somme offensive opened on 1 July 1916. Second-Lieutenant William Nimmo Brown of the 1st South African Infantry was killed on 6 July 1916 in the Battle of the Somme. He was the first South African officer killed in France during World War I. The scale of the British failure at the Battle of the Somme proved to be one of the major factors in propelling the South Africans into the notorious offensive of Delville Wood a fortnight later. Further reading: The South Africans at Delville Wood by I.S. Uys (section on the battle of the Somme) References: "ANC daily news briefing, this day in history: 6 July" (1997) [online] Available at:  newsbrief [Accessed on 1 July 2009] Uys, I.S. (date unknown) "The South Africans at Delville Wood". Military History Journal,  Vol. 7, No 2 [online] Available at: samilitaryhistory.org [Accessed on 1 July 2009]