The Battle of The Somme

2nd/ 3rd July Rilla Mill Village Hall 10-4pm To mark the 100th Anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme An Exhibition inspired by the stories of 100 men from Linkinhorne Parish who served in the Great War.

The Battle of the Somme was fought at such terrible cost that it has come to symbolise the tragic futility of the First World War. Its first day of conflict remains the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army and it was felt deeply at home.

By the first day more than 19,240 British soldiers had been killed and nearly twice that number wounded.

Many of the soldiers who had signed up were everyday young men from close-knit communities across the UK who subsequently suffered horrible losses. They were good friends, neighbours and colleagues who signed up together on the promise they would serve alongside each other. It sounded easy. These patriotic volunteers were sold on the romance of war, “Your Country Needs You”, and became known as the ‘Pals’ battalions.

The 100th anniversary provides an opportunity to commemorate the Service and sacrifice of those who lost their lives in the battle, to reflect upon the human cost of conflict and to have hope for a more peaceful world.

“We heard strange throbbing noises, and lumbering slowly towards us came three huge mechanical monsters such as we had never seen before. Big metal things they were, with two sets of caterpillar wheels that went right round the body. There was a huge bulge on each side with a door in the bulging part, and machine guns on swivels poked out from either side. The Germans must have heard them too and, although they had no idea what to expect, they promptly laid down a heavy curtain of fi re on our front line. This had the effect of making us keep our heads down, but every now and again we felt compelled to pop up and look back to see how the tanks were progressing. It was most heartening to watch their advance; we were almost ready to cheer. But there was a surprise in store for us.”

Signals Officer Bert Chaney, 19 somme100app_440x364