Saturday, July 02, 2016

COMMEMORATING THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME

Yesterday's poignant services in France and England  commemorating the start of the centenary anniversary of The Battle of the Somme, are currently on our minds.  This particular battle took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of upper reaches of the River Somme in France.  More than one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the  bloodiest battles in human history and so many of our families were touched in some way or another.

British battalions went into battle fit, strong and full of confidence. Days later, just a handful of men that took part came out exhausted, with so many of their dead comrades left behind. Covered in mud, they fought for their lives with bayonets, knives and even their bare hands.  The first day on the Somme was also the worst day in the history of the British Army,  57,470 casualties on that day alone. But it went on and on, through 141 days of hell. I feel it is vital to learn more about this sad period of our history.

In this regard, my friend Jean Morris, who is a colleague (and fellow Vice President of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists),  has written a book entitled The Church Lads’ Brigade in the Great War - the 16th(Service) Battalion. The King’s Royal Rifle Corps. This book which is published by Pen and Sword Books gives the reader another perspective.   I usually write about our own Essex Battalions but need to learn so much more about this Great War and Jean's research has supplied some of the stories which, even though a century has elapsed, still bring tears to our eyes.

The Church Lads' Brigade in the Great War
16th (Service) Battalion - The King's Royal Rifle Corps
Pages: 259ISBN: 9781783463589
Published: 12th August 2015
Price: £25.00 

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