“Before the blackness of their burst had thinned or fallen the hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man’s Land to begin the Battle of the Somme.”
(The Old Front Line by John Masefield)
At 7.30 on the morning of the 1st July 1916, 13 British and 11 French Divisions went over the top of their trenches to begin what became known as the Battle of The Somme, by that evening they had suffered 57,470 casualties of which 19,240 were killed.
Earlier this year (2010) along with 3 good friends I again made the short hop across the channel in mid July to pay my respects to some real Legends. This is the story of that visit.