Eleven days in a shell-hole: an Openshaw Sergeant’s experience a the Somme. | GM 1914

The Battle of the Somme ended 100 years ago today. Here is another soldier’s tale to commemorate all those who took part … lest we forget.

Born in 1888, by July 1916 at the Battle of the Somme, Sergeant Huddart of Openshaw was a fresh-faced twenty-eight-year-old member of the Manchester Regiment. During the battle, he would suffer seri…

Source: Eleven days in a shell-hole: an Openshaw Sergeant’s experience a the Somme. | GM 1914

“My darling, au revoir.” – War diaries of Captain Charles May | GM 1914

Captain Charles May

The 1st of July 2016 marks the centenary of the start of one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War, one which has come to symbolise the conflict: The Somme offensive of 1916. The numbers …

Source: “My darling, au revoir.” – War diaries of Captain Charles May | GM 1914

The Battle of the Somme 1 July 1916-1 July 2016– a very personal memoir | Enough of this Tomfoolery!

Even after 100 years and when no-one who remembers it is alive, the Battle of the Somme and especially its first day remains a scar on the British psyche. The 1st July 1916 and the deaths in action…

Source: The Battle of the Somme 1 July 1916-1 July 2016– a very personal memoir | Enough of this Tomfoolery!

The Somme | GM 1914


From July to November 1916, one of the bloodiest battles, not just in the First World War, but in human history took place. For many, the Battle of the Somme truly symbolised the horrors of the Great War. The terrifying and brutal nature of trench warfare, the stalemate and tactics of attrition and death rates far beyond our comprehension today are all associated with the Somme. Over the course of the five months, over 400,000 men would be wounded or killed in the wet, muddy and disease ridden trenches of the Western Front.

The British were led by the now infamous and controversial figure of General Sir Douglas Haig who had previous military experience in Africa where he rose to prominence in the Sudan in 1898. Alongside him was…

Source: The Somme | GM 1914

‘It’s the end of the 1916 winter and the conditions are almost unbelievable…’

sommemudSomme Mud by E.P.F. Lynch

‘It’s the end of the 1916 winter and the conditions are almost unbelievable. We live in a world of Somme mud. We sleep in it, work in it, fight in it, wade in it and many of us die in it. We see it, feel it, eat it and curse it, but we can’t escape it, not even by dying.’

Anecdotage

Originally posted on The Slog.

My great-aunt Lizzie was a mill-girl with aspirations to better herself. Whereas in 2015, ‘aspiration’ is really a euphemism for material greed, back in 1908 it wasn’t. A hundred and seven years ago it meant becoming respectable through marriage. Neither is that attractive as a trait, but in terms of anthropology, the latter is both more natural and not entirely dysfunctional. At the turn of the century before last, it was entirely understandable: if you worked a ten-hour day six days a week and would receive no compensation for falling into the machinery as a result of fatigue, then eschewing the need to do that was a highly desirable step in the right direction.

Like most members of my family, Elizabeth didn’t like her given name. When still very young, she opted for Lilly (or Lil) as a suitable nickname, and to her dying day intensely disliked being called Lizzie. One rather suspects that – given the racy success of the Jersey Lilly as Edward VII’s mistress – she saw this as part of her single-handed attempt to climb the socio-demographic mountain put in the Lower Order’s way in those days. The mountain still exists, the main difference now being that…

Source: Anecdotage

The History Girls: The Somme – then and now: by Sue Purkiss

Originally posted on The History Girls

On the 1st July 1916, the Battle of the Somme began. The plan was for the British and their allies to attack the Germans along a 15 mile line, stretching from Serre, north of the Ancre, to Curlu, north of the Somme. In command was General Haig. His master plan was to weaken the enemy by a week of heavy artillery fire before the attack; so confident was he that this would create complete disarray that, on the first day of the attack, he ordered the British troops to walk slowly towards the enemy lines.

Unfortunately, the plan didn’t quite work. The artillery attack simply served to warn the Germans that an attack was imminent. They just moved underground – their trenches were deeper and better-constructed than the allied ones – and waited for the bombardment to stop. Then they popped up again and manned the machine guns. Imagine their astonishment when they saw the British walking slowly towards them, presenting a perfect target! By the end of the first day – one day – there were 60 000 allied casualties, including 20 000 dead.

There are so many of these terrible statistics for the First World War. The figures are so huge that it’s difficult to take them in – to grasp the stories behind the statistics. A few weeks ago, we were in the Somme area for a few days…

via The History Girls: The Somme – then and now: by Sue Purkiss.