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Seadog

Battle of the Somme 100 years - 1916-2016

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear All,

Looking at not only these pictures, but also the attached Gallery images, reminded me of a Sep 1981 Foylibra critique of the Vera Brittain book "Chronicle of Youth, War Diary 1913-14".

Brian Masters wrote: 'It can never be said too often that the First World War was a vile, stinking mess, a stupid and disgusting massacre of men caught in the incompetent tangle of international politics, and the best books of this war are those that say so plainly. Vera Brittain's "Testament of Youth", first published in 1933, and later televised, was one of them.'

Indeed, Vera's fiancee, Lieut Roland Leighton (killed before his leave to meet Vera again), wrote to her from the Front:

'Let him who thinks that War is a glorious golden thing, let him look at a little pile of sodden grey rags that cover half a skull and a shin bone and what might have been Its ribs; or at this skeleton lying on its side, resting half-crouching as it fell, supported on one arm, perfect but that it is headless, and with the tattered clothing still draped around it; and let him realise how grand and glorious a thing it is to have distilled all Youth and Joy and Life into a foetid heap of hideous putrescence.

'Who is there who has known and seen, who can say that Victory is worth the death of even one of these?'

Kindest regards,

Kim.

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Seadog

Kim who from this distance in time could disagree with the sentiments expressed by Roland Leighton similar to these by Robert Graves after serving in Mametz Wood

 

A DEAD BOCHE

To you who’d read my songs of War
And only hear of blood and fame,
I’ll say (you’ve heard it said before)
”War’s Hell!” and if you doubt the same,
Today I found in Mametz Wood
A certain cure for lust of blood:

Where, propped against a shattered trunk,
In a great mess of things unclean,
Sat a dead Boche; he scowled and stunk
With clothes and face a sodden green,
Big-bellied, spectacled, crop-haired,
Dribbling black blood from nose and beard.

26752522400_5a2c8865a1.jpg

To those who have not yet viewed this I recommend that you do

Words from Mametz Wood

https://vimeo.com/28134870

 

Norman

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Seadog

THE WHITE CITY

British Front Line

A sap was dug from here to the Sunken Lane which was then used on 1st July 1916

26967271291_fc336e9a70_c.jpg

Image

https://www.flickr.com/photos/glosters/26967271291/in/photostream/

 

Norman

 

"Before the world grew mad, the Somme was a placid stream of Picardy, flowing gently through a broad and winding valley northwards to the English Channel. It watered a country of simple beauty. . Then came the pestilence".

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Seadog

27013180676_66d750db82_z.jpg

Image

https://www.flickr.com/photos/glosters/27013180676/in/dateposted/

 

Original artwork

 

On 1st July 1916 there were 57,000 British casualties 19,000 dead plus 38,000 wounded or missing on one day

 

The Veteran


Mary Postgate Cole

We came upon him sitting in the sun
Blinded by war, and left. And past the fence
There came young soldiers from the Hand and Flower,
Asking advice of his experience.
And he said this, and that, and told them tales,
And all the nightmares of each empty head
Blew into air; then, hearing us beside,
"Poor chaps, how'd they know what it's like?" he said.
And we stood there, and watched him as he sat,
Turning his sockets where they went away,
Until it came to one of us to ask "And you're-how old?"
"Nineteen, the third of May."

 

Norman

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Seadog

TRACES OF THE TRENCHES

27106657055_2bd290bd4f_z.jpg

After 100 years the trenches are still visible on the landscape of the Somme. The three diagonal white lines in the chalk are part of the German frontline trenches that extended North to Serre and South to the huge British mine at the Hawthorn Redoubt blown on the 1st July 1916. Beaucourt is top right and the two rows of trees bottom centre mark the Ancre British War Cemetery.

 

From: Beaucourt Revisited by A P Herbert

 

I crossed the blood red ribbon, that once was no-man's land,
I saw a misty daybreak and a creeping minute-hand;
And here the lads went over, and there was Harmsworth shot,
And here was William lying-but the new men know them not.
And I said, "There is still the river, and still the stiff, stark trees,
To treasure here our story, but there are only these";
But under the white wood crosses the dead men answered low,
" The new men know not Beaucourt, but we are here-we know."

 

Lieutenent Herbert served in the 63rd Royal Naval Division
(Harmsworth and William were members of the Royal Naval Division)

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Seadog

8636801219_a736d3c373_z.jpg

Image

https://www.flickr.com/photos/glosters/8636801219

 

Dear Mr Rider
23rd June 1916

Thank you very much for your parcel. I am sure it will be very useful in days to come. By a stroke of good fortune the hammock arrived on my birthday 20th June at dinner time. Norman and I with another Officer were having my birthday dinner. I am writing this from a dugout in the trenches. Norman and I are again in the same Battery and I am going across to have tea in his dugout and he is going to have dinner in mine. We are about half a mile apart, of course in trenches this is some distance. I am quite fit and managing to enjoy life to a certain extent. I wish I could see some signs of the war ending though.

Hoping you are all well with many thanks.

Yours very sincerely
Ralph Hosegood

 

Ralph was killed on the 23rd July 1916 near Longueval age 23 and is buried in Danzig Alley War Cemetery

 

Image

https://www.flickr.com/photos/glosters/14503246175

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Jack Sheldon

post-6447-0-01456100-1464000392_thumb.jp

The subject of the location of Thiepval Chateau cropped up earlier in the thread. It is marked on this summer 1916 map as 'Schloss'. In passing, if you want to know why it was almost impossible to reinforce the men of the 36th (Ulster) Div in or forward of Schwaben Redoubt on 1 July 1916, the machine gun (Gewehr IX) in the 'Brauerei' position alone, fired 18,000 rounds across the face of Thiepval Wood that day.

Jack

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horrocks

DSC_9592_1024.jpg

Beaumont-Hamel, 24th May 2016 (yesterday!).

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Seadog

Thanks for posting Toby, I hope they are still there today!, that is most that I have seen on the Somme.

N

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horrocks

DSC_9283_1024.jpg

George Marsden-Smedley, Guillemont Station.

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nigelcave

That last photograph is an excellent example of the Private Memorials project that the WFA ran at about the turn of the century (masterminded by Barry Thorpe, I think), where they worked with interested parties to try and get these private memorials restored and their future maintenance assured - or at least clarified. There was a very handy booklet on each of the ones concerned published by the WFA at the time.

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horrocks

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horrocks

Norman, I have just noticed on Jack's very interesting Thiepval map that the buildings which stood on the (no longer extant) lane marked by the position of the well comprised a brewery before the war. Might we surmise that the well once drew water for the brewing of beer!?

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horrocks

DSC_9273_1024.jpg

Tracks of a different kind, Guillemont Station, May 2016.

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nigelcave

Norman, I have just noticed on Jack's very interesting Thiepval map that the buildings which stood on the (no longer extant) lane marked by the position of the well comprised a brewery before the war. Might we surmise that the well once drew water for the brewing of beer!?

Yep. How big the 'brewery' was is another matter, of course. Many institutions and large houses had their own brewery - for example at Ratcliffe we had our own brewery into the 1900s - I imagine the joys of government excise duty eventually put an end to these - the one here was demolished in c. 1912. Sad.

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Seadog

Thanks, that is good news that the water was being used for brewing beer and not more mundane purposes such as cooking and washing etc!,

Cheers hic

Norman :thumbsup:

PS Not the brewery for the Chateau was it?

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Seadog

Anything and everything to do with the Somme Mandy and those images are fantastic.

Norman

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trajan

That is a fascinating series - I have just come across it during lunchtime break.

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nigelcave

Thanks, that is good news that the water was being used for brewing beer and not more mundane purposes such as cooking and washing etc!,

Cheers hic

Norman :thumbsup:

PS Not the brewery for the Chateau was it?

Well, my guess would be that it was - well, for it and for the estate workers. Hence the query as to whether it was commercial.

Given that, the well probably was used for the mundane as well, given the issue of water sources on the chalky geology of the Somme.

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Seadog

Many thanks Jack, Toby and Nigel I have found this very interesting and perhaps some of you will visit this place if you have not already.

Norman

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horrocks

I was there on Monday Norman... :-)

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Seadog

Nice one Toby

The Somme at Night

7th August 1916

From Der Weltkrieg im Bild

26681131194_1203b662af_z.jpg

Possibly taken from the Mesnil-Martinsart Ridge

N

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Seadog

27045572610_2fcd232825_c.jpg

Image

https://www.flickr.com/photos/glosters/27045572610/in/dateposted/

 

The Elmes Brothers of Windmill Hill Bristol killed in the Battle of the Somme 1916.

 

ALBERT ELMES (L)
Was 22 years old and serving with the 12th Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment (Bristols Own) killed in the attack on Wedge Wood 3rd September 1916

 

WILLIAM ELMES ®
Was 23 years old and serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment when he was killed on the 20th August 1916 in or near Tea Trench, Delville Wood.

Neither brother was found and their names are inscribed on the Great Memorial to the Missing at Thiepval on the Somme France

 

LEST WE FORGET
1916 - 2016

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