Battle of the Somme

A brutal battle of the First World War fought in northern France by the armies of the British and French empires against the German Empire. The battle started on July 1st 1916 and lasted until November 1916. It was one of the bloodiest battles in history, 420,000 casualties with 60,000 on the first day alone. The French lost 200,000 men and the Germans nearly 500,000.

Young men were persuaded to volunteer as part of "Kitchener's Volunteer Army", posters showed Lord Kitchener summoning men to prove their patriotism. Propaganda postcards were widely distributed to encourage men to fight for their country.  Many were still boys as young as 16, newly recruited volunteers and were not trained military personnel.


The large number of casualties was due to the heavy use of artillery, in the hope that the guns would destroy the German trenches. However, the Germans had dug out deep trenches so when the gun fire stopped, they would have known that this was the signal for infantry to advance.


Click here to see timeline of events >


Information published in the media was less than accurate, see a collection of newspaper articles, some dating back to 1914.

The Daily Chronicle published a report about the battle on July 3rd 1916:

"...the British troops have already occupied the German front line. Many prisoners have already fallen into our hands, and as far as can be ascertained our casualties have not been heavy."

Those which survived the battle new what really happened:

"...(The British) attack had been brutally repulsed. Hundreds of dead were strung out like wreckage washed up to a high water-mark."


George Coppard, machine gunner at the Battle of

the Somme.

A commemorative promotional campaign was developed in 2014 to motivate the community, the artwork was based upon Lord Kitchener's original recruitment campaign.

See newspaper articles about the Battle...