101 years ago today … 1 July 1916: the first day of the Battle of the Somme...
This battle was fought by the armies of the British and French against the German Empire. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of the upper reaches of the River Somme in France. The battle was intended to hasten a victory for the Allies and was the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front. More than 3 million men fought in this battle and one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history. The first day on the Somme was, in terms of casualties, also the worst day in the history of the British army, which suffered 57,470 casualties.
I've been working for a year now on a larger project about the aftermath of the War. Here photographed Grandcourt Road Cemetery, Grandcourt, 11km from Albert. Grandcourt was reached on 1 July 1916, by men of the 36th (Ulster) Division, but it was not taken until the night of 5/6 February 1917 when patrols of the Royal Naval Division found it deserted. It was in German hands again from April to August 1918.
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