While getting ready for work this morning I, as no doubt did many others, paused to observe the two minutes silence to mark the anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme. To hear the whistle once again signalling the moment when the soldiers went ‘over the top’ was incredibly emotional. This is the blog we have posted on our Derbyshire Lives Through the First World War site, telling the story of just one of the men who lost their life in this battle , one of the many who we think of today.
1st July 2016 is the centenary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme – acknowledged by many as the bloodiest day in the history of the British army.
The battle was fought on the banks of the River Somme in France, and lasted for 141 days. On the first day alone British troops had 57,470 casualties, with 19,240 killed. By the end of the battle more than 1 million men had been killed or wounded, including about 485,000 British and French troops.
After a six day artillery bombardment, at 7.30am on 1st July the first wave of British infantry advanced towards the German lines. Their aim was to take control of the area to the north of the River Somme. But rather than having been destroyed by the artillery bombardment which had rained down on them for six days, the German troops had retreated into their deep…
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