The First Day of The Somme - 1 July 1916

Discussion in 'Prewar' started by Jonathan Ball, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    On this day 95 years ago, 1 July 1916, the British Army witnessed one of the blackest days in it’s history. The casualty figures for that day alone stands at 57,470 of which 19,240 men were killed. From the classic account of the first day of the Somme comes the following figures. It is worth noting that in cases in which the casualty figures for a particular Battalion have been disputed Martin Middlebrook quoted the lowest figure available.

    [​IMG]

    And the VC winners...

    [​IMG]

    And a map of the sector that day...

    [​IMG]

    Just out of curiosity, are any forum members related to a Soldier who served that day?
     
    James S and CL1 like this.
  2. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Jonathan,

    Obtained from The Great War Forum, I understand one of my great Granddads was wounded on the 1 July 1916.

    Although not Irish or of Irish descent, he was English of probably Welsh descent, he was serving with the 4th Bn, Tyneside Irish (27th Bn, Northumberland Fusiliers); which is very high on the list at message #1.

    The contributer stated "He was probably wounded on the 1st July 1916, although the date it's recorded in the regimental journal is August 1916. This is simply because of the number of casualties on the Somme, names were not all released at once and you do infact find the gaps begin to grow between a casualty event and it's eventual reporting."

    I understand his wounds were bad enough to have him hospitalised, as he was later transferred to the 2nd Bn, Tyneside Irish (25th Bn, Northumberland Fusiliers).

    He was KIA about six months before the Armistace.

    Best,

    Steve.
     
    Jonathan Ball likes this.
  3. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Jonathan,

    Obtained from The Great War Forum, I understand one of my great Granddads was wounded on the 1 July 1916.

    Although not Irish or of Irish descent, he was English of probably Welsh descent, he was serving with the 4th Bn, Tyneside Irish (27th Bn, Northumberland Fusiliers); which is very high on the list at message #1.

    The contributer stated "He was probably wounded on the 1st July 1916, although the date it's recorded in the regimental journal is August 1916. This is simply because of the number of casualties on the Somme, names were not all released at once and you do infact find the gaps begin to grow between a casualty event and it's eventual reporting."

    I understand his wounds were bad enough to have him hospitalised, as he was later transferred to the 2nd Bn, Tyneside Irish (25th Bn, Northumberland Fusiliers).

    He was KIA about six months before the Armistace.

    Best,

    Steve.

    Steve

    No doubt you are aware of the following photo of the Tyneside Irish taken that day. Have you ever wondered if your Great Grandad is amongst them?

    [​IMG]
     
  4. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Thanks for highlighting this day Jonathan. All four of my Greatgrandfathers served and got through the horrors of WW1, two of them went through the whole campaign in the Rifle Brigade and Die Hards, whilst the others served in the Durham Pals and the A.S.C.:poppy::poppy::poppy::poppy:
     
    Jonathan Ball likes this.
  5. Ray Hanson

    Ray Hanson Member

    My Grandfather Charles Priestley, York and Lancs lost an eye at Passchendeale
    Gt Uncle Tom Malham 4/5 KOYLI KIA 12 th September aged 21
    Gt Uncle George Malham MM 4/5 KOYLI wounded 12th September
     
  6. -tmm-

    -tmm- Senior Member

    My great grandfather was in the 7th Suffolk, 35th Brigade. He went over the top 95 years ago tomorrow - where he was shot and captured at Ovilliers.
     
  7. ww2ni

    ww2ni Senior Member

    I have visited the Somme Battlefields on a number of occasions over the last couple of years and on every occasion it is most interesting and very thought provoking.

    I am always aware that when walking around these sites there are still many thousands of soldiers lying beneathy my feet somewhere waiting for a proper burial.

    To everyone I would say that if you have not visited these places then take the opportunity to spend a few days walking the sites. - Unforgetable!
     
  8. Auditman

    Auditman Senior Member

    To everyone I would say that if you have not visited these places then take the opportunity to spend a few days walking the sites. - Unforgetable! from WW2NI

    Fully agree. I was over there a couple of weeks ago and covered the ground followed by 1/6 London Regiment on 15th Sept 1916 near High Wood. They had about 450 casualties, with many remembered on the Thiepval memorial, and they were second wave on the day. The walk to the point they got to took me about 20 minutes. I kept looking at the wheat covered slopes and trying to think what it must have been like. I found it quite moving
    Jim
     
  9. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Jonathan,
    I visited Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele and Ypres right after the Normandy tour.
    Amazed at seeing so many cemeteries along the drive from Reims to Vimy, Arras, Passchendaele, and Ypres. The Menin Gate holds the names of some 55,000 Commonwealth troops who died during the Great War with no known grave.
     
  10. ted angus

    ted angus Senior Member

    My Grandfather was in the 22nd Northumberland fusiliers (3rd tyneside scottish) he is listed as killed 30 june 1916 he has no known grave- I am in the process of getting the Btn's war diary for the said period.

    TED
     
  11. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Visits to the WW1 battlefields and cemeteries are very thought provoking.
    The sheer number of cemeteries and graves is staggering. The memorials to the missing (eg Ypres, Thiepval) give some impression of the pure hell it must have been on that shattered ground nearly 100 years ago.
     
  12. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

  13. sparky34

    sparky34 Senior Member

    as J.B.PRIESTLEY a BRADFORD lad wrote later ...
    there are many gaps in my acquaintances now ...
    and I find it difficult to swap reminiscences of boyhood
    the men who were boys when I was a boy are dead
    indeed they never even grew to be men .

    they were slaughtered in youth
    and the parents of them, have grown lonely
    the girls they would have married , have grown grey in sisterhood
    and the work they would have done , has remained undone ..
     
    Jonathan Ball likes this.
  14. Capt Bill

    Capt Bill wanderin off at a tangent

  15. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Thanks for the links Geoff. Very sobering statistics.

    All good posts here and nice to know so many people are still so very proud of the service of their relatives. My own Great Great Uncle went over the top that day with 1/Lancashire Fusiliers and came through to fight another day. Private James Ellis Ball of 15/Welsh Regiment wasn't as fortunate and fell at Mametz Wood 9 days on from the start of the offensive. He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.

    I agree that it is a special feeling to walk The Somme battlefield but I would suggest going earlier in the year. I went during the spring before the crops grow and at that time you can still see the ghostly outlines of the trenches in the chalk.

    The following link will take you to the excellent 1976 BBC documentary presented by Leo McKern that was produced for the 60th Anniversary of the Somme. It can be viewed online or downloaded and burned to disc. A proper 'old school' bit of TV.

    Somme : narrator Leo Mckern : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
     
  16. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria. Patron

    Can i congratulate Johnathan for this thread and all that have contributed towards the rememberence of this dark day 95 years ago, Remember them all.
     
  17. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  18. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Steve

    No doubt you are aware of the following photo of the Tyneside Irish taken that day. Have you ever wondered if your Great Grandad is amongst them?

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for that Jonathan.

    I regret to say that I have never taken a great deal of interest in WWI, simply because of all its futility and horror I found it far too gloomy. I stuck with the most recent big war - WWII. I was and am aware of a lot of my great granddad's war, but never really bothered with WWI specifically until very recently when I did some research on my wifes family.

    She had two great uncles KIA within a few days of each other in May 1917, one at sea and the other at Oppy Wood. Her great grandmother got word about both at the same time and apparently turned prematurely grey haired overnight. I tracked the sailor great uncle to a grave in Sussex, one of only three bodies washed ashore after the U Boat attack...

    I now need to do some research on her maternal granddad who, according to family folklore, was taken POW and escaped... I must find out more about his war.

    Great post by the way.

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  19. Rosey

    Rosey Member

    I actually had an Uncle who fought in WW1 with the Royal Irish Rifles. He enlisted in Feb 1915 and was sent to France in Dec 1915 and served there until July 1918 when he returned home to Ireland and died of wounds in July 1918 aged 22yrs. He was my late mothers idolised Big Brother and we have never forgotten him in the family and are very proud of him.
    My Grandfather fought with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers from 1914 to 1918, survived the war and died in 1956. It was so long ago and they were all such brave young men and it is right that they are not forgotten.

    Rosey
     
  20. Ray Hanson

    Ray Hanson Member

    I recently 'inherited' a collection of WWI books. Two in particular I found very thought provoking;

    'Through german eyes: the British and the Somme 1916' by Christopher Duffy and
    'Mud, Blood and Poppycock' by Gordon Corrigan.
     

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