THE REFERENCE BOOK FOR THE ENTIRE BATTLE OF THE SOMME
Produced with the assistance of
HRH The Prince of Wales
The British Embassy Paris
The Army Benevolent Fund
Imperial War Museum London
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
and the Royal British Legion
THE SPECIAL BOXED COLLECTOR’S LIMITED EDITION OF
THE SOMME, NINETY YEARS ON — A VISUAL HISTORY OF THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME
BY DUNCAN YOUEL AND DAVID EDGELL
SOMME HISTORICAL CONSULTANT: MICHAEL STEDMAN
World War I, 1st July 1916. The beginning of the Battle of the Somme is announced at Hawthorn Ridge with the detonation of the first of a series of huge mines planted under the German Army’s frontline redoubts. The defining conflict of The Great War, the Battle of the Somme was originally conceived as a major part of the Allies‘ Big Push — a joint Anglo-French offensive designed to break the German line on the Western Front.
The British Army’s commander, General Sir Douglas Haig, and his Fourth Army commander, General Sir Henry Rawlinson, had devised a major assault across a battlefront which extended eighteen miles, from Gommecourt in the north, to Montauban in the south, and taking in the other German-held fortified villages of Serre, Beaumont Hamel, Thiepval, Ovillers, La Boisselle, Fricourt and Mametz. Almost 120,000 men took part in the attack. South of Montauban the French attacked on a front which extended south from the British sector, astride the River Somme, down to Flaucourt, opposite Peronne.
Central to the terrible story of the Battle of the Somme is the role played by the many Pals’ Battalions on the momentous first day and beyond. The sad legacy of Britain’s “citizen army”can be seen today in the many battlefield cemeteries and memorials along the Old Fontline of 1st July, in particular the memorial parks at Serre and Beaumont Hamel, the massive Lochnagar Crater, and of course at Thiepval.
SOMME 90 — A Visual History of the Battle of the Somme — commemorates this key battle of the First World War. As well as a complete, in-depth account of the four and a half month-long campaign, SOMME 90 visits the battlefields of the Somme today, taking in Lutyens’ enormous Memorial to the Missing and the newly-opened Thiepval Visitor Centre. Other seminal locations discussed are: the infamous Schwaben Redoubt and the Ulster Tower, Leipzig Salient and Blighty Valley, Pozieres, site of the 1st Australian Memorial and location of the well-known Le Tommy Bar. From High Wood and Guillemont up to Gommecourt, SOMME 90 documents the tragic history of the Battle of the Somme.
The book also contains a section on genealogy, and the building of the memorials at home, back in Blighty. The role of Fabian Ware and the establishment of the Imperial War Graves Commission is also looked at, together with the parts played today by the Royal British Legion and the Army Benevolent Fund.
"I write to congratulate you on
an outstanding book. Beautifully designed and written, with superb photographs – a really sensitive tribute. I have quite a number
of books on the 1914/18 War
but none has moved me
as much as yours..."
Mr B Marchant, East Grinstead