100 years since the first day of the battle of the Somme

One hundred years ago today the battle of the Somme began. The first of July 1916 was the worst day in the history of the British Army with 19,000 dead and 38,000 wounded for advances of between 1 and seven miles. It is quite startling to think that on that day Britain suffered higher casualties than the Suez, Falklands, Northern Ireland, Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts combined. The battle of the Somme was one of many such battles in World War One or the Great War as it was known. During four months of the Somme offensive 420,000 British, British Empire and Dominion troops, 195,000 French and 650,000 German troops were killed. The offensive was finally called off in November 1916.

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Laying wreaths

Thousands of soldiers from Leytonstone served in the First World War and many did not return. You can find out more about these men and where they lived at the Leytonstone War Memorial Project.

Preparing to lower the flag 1st July 2016

Preparing to lower the flag 1st July 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like many villages, towns and cities across the country London Borough of Waltham Forest held a service to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first day of the Somme. The service was attended by the Leader of the Council, Mayor and members of the public. The Western Front Association provided a display of artefacts from the period and blew whistles used to signal the men to go over the top. The Vestry House Museum provided additional documentary material.

Leytonstone War Memorial

Leytonstone War Memorial

Words and pictures by Martin Sepion

2 thoughts on “100 years since the first day of the battle of the Somme

  1. a a fernandes says:

    We salute these young men and all those who have given their lives to serve and protect. Thanks for this Martin. Not quite E11 related .
    In the larger context : Lest we forget “Almost one-and-a-half million men from India took part in the war,” “That is more than all the other Empire countries put together.
    “They fought on the Western Front, in the trenches, when the Germans were making great advances and they were instrumental in solidifying the British force.
    ‘Avaes Mohammed’

    “We should not forget their contribution, because remembering it is so important to our contemporaries.
    “Commemoration is a force of good in the community because it brings people together.
    “It gives a sense of belonging in this country. It gives young people a stake in this country.”

    http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/forgotten-army-400000-muslim-soldiers-10325190#ICID=sharebar_facebook

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I_casualties

  2. a a fernandes says:

    We salute these young men and all those who died to serve and protect. Thanks for this Martin. In the larger context , lest we forget “Almost one-and-a-half million men from India took part in the war,” “That is more than all the other Empire countries put together.

    “They fought on the Western Front, in the trenches, when the Germans were making great advances and they were instrumental in solidifying the British force.
    ‘Avaes Mohammed’

    “We should not forget their contribution, because remembering it is so important to our contemporaries.
    “Commemoration is a force of good in the community because it brings people together.
    “It gives a sense of belonging in this country. It gives young people a stake in this country.”

    http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/forgotten-army-400000-muslim-soldiers-10325190#ICID=sharebar_facebook

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I_casualties

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