Arthur Bliss 125: WWI and The Somme | MusiCB3 Blog

Arthur Bliss (right) with his brother Kennard on the steps of their London home in 1915. Copyright Cambridge University Library

As part of the University Library’s exhibition celebrating the 125th anniversary of Sir Arthur Bliss’s birth, and as a tribute to those whose lives were lost during the Battle of the So…

Source: Arthur Bliss 125: WWI and The Somme | MusiCB3 Blog

Mametz Wood: The stretcher bearers to the Somme’s stricken – BBC News

The unit was raised mainly from St John-trained men from across the south Wales coalfields – Amman, Garw, Ogmore Vale and Rhondda valleys and Gwent

The largely over-looked efforts of the 130th (St John) Field Ambulance unit in Mametz Wood.

Source: Mametz Wood: The stretcher bearers to the Somme’s stricken – BBC News

It Isn’t Far from Lee to Gommecourt …. | Running Past

The route to the southern edges of Picardy from south-east London is a straightforward one these days; the town of Albert can be reached in around four hours via the Channel Tunnel from Lee or Hither Green.  A variant of the journey was taken by numerous young men just over a century ago.

This week sees the centenary of the beginning of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916 and many of those that…

Source: It Isn’t Far from Lee to Gommecourt …. | Running Past

Book review – Harry’s War: The Great War Diary of Harry Drinkwater | Book Review | History Extra

Reviewed by: Nigel Jones

Amid the array of books marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, this is a real find: a full-length, contemporaneous diary kept by a soldier who served throughout the entire conflict, initially joining up in 1914 as a volunteer private and later commissioned as an officer.

Harry Drinkwater, a cobbler’s son from Stratford-upon-Avon, joined a Birmingham ‘Pals’ battalion after being rejected by the regular army for being too short. Shipped to the western front after training in November 1915, he was immediately plunged into the realities of war. As he wrote: “Heard a fearful crash and found the next dugout to ours blown to blazes and Sergeant Horton with it. He had been our physical drill instructor since the beginning. He was a fellow I liked. As soon as I heard the crash I made my way out, and, with the help of Sergeant Wassell dug him out; he was very near a ‘gonner’. Wassell and I carried him to the rear. Before we could get him anywhere near a dressing station he had departed this life. He was our first casualty, and our first experience of death.”

Drinkwater was to have plenty more experience during the next three blood-drenched years. Shells dropped all around him, decimating groups he had just left; bullets whistled past his ears; mines erupted in flames beneath his feet. Poison gas wafted on the breeze, his friends dropping one by one. But from the Somme and Passchendaele to the Italian front and the German offensives of spring 1918, Drinkwater remained…

Read more: Book review – Harry’s War: The Great War Diary of Harry Drinkwater | Book Review | History Extra.

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.