100 years ago today was the catastrophic first day of the Battle of the Somme. By 18 November of 1916, over one million men had been killed, captured, or wounded. It was the largest battle on the Western Front during World War I.
The battle of the Somme saw the French and British working together fighting against the Germans. Despite a week of bombarding the German lines leading up to July 1–over a million shells had been fired–the first day of the battle was a disaster. 1 July 1916, was to be the bloodiest day in British military history. One in five men who fought on the first day died. Nearly 20,000 men were killed and over 35,000 were wounded with very limited gains for the Allies.
And this was to set the pattern going forward. On 18 November the British army was given the order to stop, with the Allies having gained only 6 miserable miles since the start of the offensive in July.
At Thiepval there is a memorial to the Missing of the Somme. Standing at 43 meters high, it the Anglo-French Battle Memorial is the largest Commonwealth Memorial to the Missing in the world. Here we look at this impressive memorial to those who lost their lives at the Somme.