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Seadog

Battle of the Somme 100 years - 1916-2016

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sdjknox

My wife , mother in law and I shall be at the Great Memorial to the Missing at Thiepval on 19 October 2016 to commemorate the death of a relative James Lawson who died on 19 October 1916. I have reserved us places at the daily service which is taking place every day at 12 pm local time throughout the 141 days of the battle. Just thought I would bring this daily service organised by the British Legion to the forums attention, if like me these services had passed you by. I noticed them on The Legion Supporter Newsletter Summer 2016 I have just received through the post. Reservations can be made using the website at www.britishlegion.org.uk/ somme100UK. We were the first to make reservations that day so I suspect plenty of availability!

Regards,

Steve

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Seadog

Thanks for posting Steve, this is the web page

http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/remembrance/ww1-centenary/somme-100/somme-100-daily-services/

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This is a great idea and will be a very moving experience for it gives many people the chance to remember in this remarkable place. I once heard from a short distance away a bugle being played under the arch and the occasion will never be forgotten.

Norman

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Seadog

GOMMECOURT

27069718690_db4638c843_z.jpg

Image link

https://www.flickr.com/photos/glosters/27069718690/in/dateposted/

 

From Volume 2 of "I Was There" page 688. The description reads:

"Here lies a gallant English Captain C.F.M Lewes of the Notts & Derby Regiment killed on the 1/7/16 near Gommecourt".

 

Buried by the Germans on the battlefield. His grave was later lost and he is remembered on the Great Memorial at Thiepval

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/800361/LEWES,%20FREDERICK%20HENRY%20MEREDITH

 

Norman

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Seadog

PREPARING FOR THE INEVITABLE

27070906830_6c5cef6857_z.jpg

Image from Volume 2 of "I Was There" page 855

 

LEST WE FORGET
1916 - 2016

 

Norman

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mva

GOMMECOURT

27069718690_db4638c843_z.jpg

Image link

https://www.flickr.com/photos/glosters/27069718690/in/dateposted/

From Volume 2 of "I Was There" page 688. The description reads:

"Here lies a gallant English Captain C.F.M Lewes of the Notts & Derby Regiment killed on the 1/7/16 near Gommecourt".

Buried by the Germans on the battlefield. His grave was later lost and he is remembered on the Great Memorial at Thiepval

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/800361/LEWES,%20FREDERICK%20HENRY%20MEREDITH

Norman

Thank you, Norman, for this moving photo ! In French, I would say : les honneurs des guerriers. I knew this kind of recognition is often found for pilots, but this is not the case.

Could you please give some more information about that book "I was there" ?

thank you, kind regards from the Somme

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Seadog

"I Was There"

Four bound volumes of the magazines issued in the 1930`s containing 2,060 pages and thousands of photos. The individual part-works are available on the book market plus the bound volumes which also come as Three instead of Four (See link below).

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http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/SearchResults?an=HAMMERTON&sts=t&tn=I+WAS+THERE

Norman

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mva

thank you, Norman, I have ordered !

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Seadog

Its a pleasure and you will not be disappointed I am sure

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Gordon Highlanders take a rest near Meaulte in July 1916 before going up to the line.

 

An image from page 718 in Vol 2 of "I Was There"

 

SCOTS GUARDS - Flowers Of The Forest.

ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfsasAlICo8

 

Norman

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Seadog

THE VILLAGE WAR MEMORIAL

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Original photo onto old postcard

Norman

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horrocks

Mametz Wood, July 1916

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.

Robert Graves, A Dead Boche

DSC_9480_1024.jpg

Mametz Wood, May 2016

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Seadog

Battle of the Somme

Tank Museum Bovington

27432284765_346ab085d9.jpg

Image

https://www.flickr.com/photos/glosters/27432284765/in/dateposted/

 

BOMBARDMENT

Four days the earth was rent and torn
By bursting steel,
The houses fell about us;
Three nights we dared not sleep,
Sweating, and listening for the immanent crash
Which meant our death.

The fourth night every man,
Nerve-tortured, racked to exhaustion
Slept, muttering and twitching,
While the shells crashed overhead.

The fifth day there came a hush;
We left our holes
And looked above the wreckage of the earth
To where the white clouds moved in silent lines
Across the untroubled blue.

 

Richard Aldington

 

Aldington joined the British Army in 1916, during the Great War, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Royal Sussex Regiment during 1917 and was wounded on the Western Front. Aldington never completely recovered from his war experiences, and may have continued to suffer from the then-unrecognised phenomenon of posttraumatic stress disorder.

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Seadog

Battle of the Somme

Tank Museum Bovington

27361198121_7bc228b19b_z.jpg

“They died, so others came and had to stay
Till they died too, and every field and fen
Was heavy with the dead from day to day.”

 

from A Bas la Gloire

by Lt. The Hon. Edward Wyndham Tennant
Grenadier Guards 4th Battalion
Killed age 19 on the 22nd September 1916
Buried GUILLEMONT ROAD CEMETERY Somme

 

Image

https://www.flickr.com/photos/glosters/27361198121/in/photostream/

 

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horrocks

24791_480772477561cbc448a597.jpg

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Seadog

Thanks for posting the excellent headstone shot Toby, I take it that you also saw the grave of Raymond Asquith

Here is a sketch of Edward by John Singer Sargent in 1915

25749671710_7ff3992769_z.jpg

Image

https://www.flickr.com/photos/glosters/25749671710/in/album-72157666284101745/

 

From "Home Thoughts In Laventie" By Edward

"I saw green banks of daffodil,
Slim poplars in the breeze,
Great tan-brown hares in gusty March,
A courting on the leas;
And meadows with their glittering streams and silver scurrying dace
Home—what a perfect place".

 

See

http://www.westdowns.com/bimtennt.htm

 

Two days before he was killed: Letter to his Mother in England(From the link above)

“To-night we go up to the trenches we were in, and to-morrow or the next day we go over the top… I am full of hope and trust, and I pray that I may be worthy of my fighting ancestors… I have never been prouder of anything, except your love for me, than I am of being a Grenadier.”

 

Norman

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horrocks

24791_923122426561cc61729d9d.jpg

'Small time but in that small most greatly lived this star of England'

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mandy hall

Thanks for the posts, Norman and Toby, showing the GWF at its best.

Mandy

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tharkin56

I have a full copy of the Great War I was there, they are a great read....They included an article from the Reverend Kenelm Swallow MC I did a book about him search the forum for one of his photos, that wasn't included in The Great War I was there but the article was.

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Seadog

Pages 1972 - 1974 in the 4 volume edition

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Thanks for the comment Mandy far too kind, all contributions are welcome here to mark this battle which although 100 years ago still casts a long shadow affecting as it did so many families whose lives were never the same again after the loss of a generation.

 

A Grandad Not Forgotten - Bristol 11th November

10798494364_3509010440_z.jpg

Image

https://www.flickr.com/photos/glosters/10798494364

 

Norman

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Seadog

From Volume 2 of "I Was There" page 722. The description reads:
"Blood-soaked battlefield of the Somme as the airmen saw it"

Photo dated July 21st 1916 just three weeks into the battle which would drag on until November 1916.

27070314240_10f923389f_c.jpg

Image link

https://www.flickr.com/photos/glosters/27070314240/in/photostream/

 

This is a tremendous image considering the equipment available and the aircraft, it could I suppose have been taken from a tethered balloon, whatever the method it is still very good.

 

Norman

 

PS See this link relating to Post 72

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=145141&hl=%2Breverend+%2Bkenelm+%2Bswallow

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tharkin56

i have posted many times he's one of his photos Kenelm that is

post-7184-0-26062000-1309475073.jpg

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Seadog

27203811240_3b10d3878d_z.jpg

All that remained of the railway station of Beaucourt-Hamel and on the left the Paris - Lille railway line together with a brake van which somehow survived albeit wrecked.

 

Postwar

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Old image from Vol 2 "I Was There"

 

Norman

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Seadog

4425312978_78783947f1_b.jpg

Morning on the road to Hamel

This road descends the hill from Mesnil-Martinsart down into the front-line village of Hamel the scene of terrible conflict during the battle. Running parallel to the left of this road was a British trench known as "Jacobs Ladder" which the soldiers used to move between the two villages. The Thiepval Ridge is on the horizon and the great Memorial to the Missing can be seen. The mist is from the valley of the river Ancre which runs at the bottom of the hill from left to right.

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Edmund Blunden

"Undertones of War"

 

Jacob's Ladder was a long trench, good in parts, stretching from Mesnil with many angles down to Hamel on the River Ancre, requiring flights of stairs at one or two steep places. Leafy bushes and great green and yellow weeds looked into it as it dipped sharply into the green valley by Hamel, and hereabouts the aspect of peace and innocence was as yet prevailing. A cow with a crumpled horn, a harvest cart should have been visible here and there. The trenches ahead were curious, and not so pastoral. Ruined houses with rafters sticking out, with half-sloughed plaster and crazy window-frames, perched on a hillside, bleak and piteous that cloudy morning; derelict trenches crept along below them by upheaved gardens, telling the story of savage bombardment. Further on was a small chalk cliff, facing the river, with a rambling but remarkable dugout in it called Kentish Caves. The front line lay over this brow, and descended to the wooded marshes of the Ancre in winding and gluey irregularity. Running through it towards the German line went the narrow Beaucourt road, and the railway to Miraumont and Bapaume; in the railway bank was a look-out post called the Crow's Nest, with a large periscope. South of the Ancre was massive high ground, and on that a black vapor of smoke and naked tree trunks or charcoal, which I found was called Thièpval Wood. The Somme indeed!

 

Norman

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horrocks

DSC_8953_1024.jpg

The chalk bluff within which were the Kentish Caves, mentioned by Blunden in the passage above. It has thus far resisted several attempts to obtain a good photograph.

DSC_8954_1000.jpg

Lying on the surface in the field below the caves a few weeks ago, a 3" Stokes Mortar round, alive and well 100 years later!

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