About the Photo
This is a deceptively peaceful landscape. It could be located in many different places in the world today, but in reality, it is in Northern France. This is the site of the World War I battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles of the Great War.
The battle occurred between July and November 1916 when the British and French armies attacked the German fortified trenches. Repeated attacks by the British and French over those months moved the German lines back only a few miles. The cost war enormous. A horrendous loss of life resulted with both sides suffering about a million total casualties before the battle had wound down. The first day was particularly disastrous for the British with about sixty thousand casualties including almost twenty thousand killed.
There are many accounts (memoirs/memories) of that day, including these three that I was able to find quickly on the web:
- Interview with Arthur Raley: Royal Newfoundland Regiment
- Memories of the Battle of the Somme
- Remembrance: Memories of the Somme
I highly recommend that you read John Keegan's account of the Somme battle in his The Face of Battle (1976).
Gathering memories/memoirs is exactly the purpose of the archival database project.
Photo courtesy rhodeson.