Produced with the generous 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
“A great book, and it made me cry in places...” Mr G Bailey, Manchester
"I must tell you that I have never seen my husband so engrossed in a single book before. We have to peel him away from it to get him to do anything else. You have truly created something special..."
Mrs J Finni, Ontario
The special M2 Slipcase Collector’s Edition of The Somme Ninety Years On, a Visual History by Duncan Youel and David Edgell
“There have been so many books published about the Somme but if we were to recommend a single work it would be this one.” Scottish Legion News
“By far the most exhaustive and informative, yet easy-to-comprehend book on the Somme I have ever seen...”
Alastair McCleod, Camberley
"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
With photography, film and interviews by Keith Lillis, David Edgell and Duncan Youel, Historical Consultancy by Michael Stedman and Genealogical Notes by Ken and Pam Linge
“I first went back to the Somme in 1935, and I intend to keep going as long as I can; I try to be there on July 1st. I go out and stand, at 7:30am, at the exact spot where we went over the top in 1916.”
PRIVATE HARRY BLOOR | ACCRINGTON PALS AT SERRE ON THE FIRST OF JULY
Of all the bloody campaigns fought on the Western Front, the Somme has a particular resonance for the British. On that first bright Saturday morning, along an eighteen-mile front, almost 120,000 men—most of them Volunteers—climbed out of their trenches and began a steady walk into No Man's Land to embark on Douglas Haig’s “Big Push”. By the day's end, almost half of this massive body of men were dead, maimed, wounded, missing, or taken prisoner. 19,240 were dead. Of the 2,152 Tommies listed as missing, it‘s certain that these were also killed—blown apart by the High Explosive shells that at some places rained down on the advancing waves and blasted their bodies about No Man's Land. Along the grisly wayward course of the campaign, the souls of over 72,000 British soldiers were lost this way. Today they are remembered on Sir Edwin Lutyens’ Memorial to the Missing of the Somme at Thiepval.
The Somme is an integral and authentic part of our British cultural experience and the book and one-hour DVD tell this story. Packed full of maps, archive and modern photographs, the British experience on the Somme is recounted, from the pre-War social and political situation in Europe and Britain to the formation of the Pals Battalions, their baptism of fire on the First of July, and the long drawn-out campaign that finally foundered in the mud of the coldest winter of the War. The rest of the conflict is documented too, as is the phenomenon of the Remembrance Movement, the founding of the Imperial War Graves Commission and the making of the Cemeteries Abroad. Finally, the legacy of the Somme is explored, with conversations and explanations from the many people who contribute to the economy of the area today.
Introduction | Timeline | Europe Before 1914 | 1914 to December 1915 | The Germans on the Somme | Douglas Haig Takes Over | The Allied Conference at Chantilly | Verdun | Planning the Attack | Preparations for “the Big Push” | The Bombardment 24th June to 1st of July | The Evening Before the Attack | Filming the Battle | Zero Hour | Diversion at Gommecourt | Serre, The Death of Innocence | Redan Ridge | Beaumont-Hamel | The Schwaben Redoubt | Thiepval | The Leipzig Salient and Blighty Valley | Ovillers and Mash Valley | La Boisselle | Fricourt and Mametz | Liverpool and Manchester Pals at Montauban | How the French Fared | After the Trauma 2nd to 4th July | Attrition | 7th to 10th July Contalmaison | 7th to 12th July Mametz Wood | The Great Horseshoe of Woods | 14th July The Dawn Attack | 3rd to 17th July Ovillers | The German Response | 15th July to 27th August The Scots and South Africans at Delville Wood | 20th July to 15th September High Wood | 23rd July to 6th August The Australians and 48th South Midland Division at Pozieres and Mouquet Farm | 3rd to 6th September 16th Irish Division at Guillemont and Guinchy | A Moving Front | Germany: Changes in the High Command | Conceiving the Hindenburg Line | 15th September The Next Major Attack | The Tanks | The Canadians at Courcelette | 25th to 26th September Morval and Lesboeufs | 26th to 27th September The Taking of Thiepval | The Schwaben Redoubt | 13th to 18th November The Battle of the Ancre | October and November The Closing Stages of the Campaign | The Cost of the Battle | 1917 The German Withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line | Timeline | 1917 | 1918 The German Spring Offensives | Halted at Amiens | 8th August The Black Day of the German Army | Advance to Victory, the Final 100 Days | 11th November 1918 Armistice | Aftermath
Part Two | Battlefield Tourists
In Memoriam | The Somme Today | The Imperial War Graves Commission | Building the Cemeteries Abroad | The Pilgrims | Memorials at Home | The Memorial to the Missing of the Somme at Thiepval | Memory and Remembrance | The Legacy of the Somme | The Specialist: The Royal British Legion and Serre | Mailly-Maillet: Village Behind the Lines | The Curator: Newfoundland Memorial Park | The Entrepreneur: Beaucourt-sur-Ancre | The Schwaben Redoubt | The Custodian: The Ulster Tower | The Historian: Authuille Military Cemetery | The Road to Thiepval | Panoramas: Then and Now—OGS Crawford’s panoramic photographs of the Frontline from 1915, and Michael Stedman’s from today | The Mayor: Thiepval | The Visionary and the the Museum Director: Thiepval Visitor Centre | The Australian 1st Division Memorial at Pozieres | The Collector: At Le Tommy Bar | The Professional: A Battlefield Guide at Delville Wood | The Horseman: The Army Benevolent Fund | The Soldier: The Butte de Warlencourt | The Genealogists: Tracing ancestors | Getting There and Accommodation | Acknowledgements and Reading List.
"A worthy addition to the story of the Battle of the Somme." HRH The Prince of Wales
"One look inside your book was enough and I bought it on the spot. I must congratulate you on an absolutely first-class publication. The photographs are excellent, especially the 'then and now' pairs..." Mr J Watson, Lancashire
"I just wanted to say that I think your book is excellent. I asked for it as a Christmas present and haven't read it all yet but the design is first class and the way it's laid out is quite superb..." Mr G Dow, Surrey
Main picture, top Gathering storm over Mill Road Cemetery on the Schwaben Redoubt
Part One illustration A Machine-Gun Company poses for the camera at their new HQ after the successful British assault on Beaumont-Hamel in November 1916
Above CWGC directional signs close to the Serre Road cemeteries
Right Spreads from the book: Filming the Battle, Malins in 86th Brigade’s sector; The Ulster Tower and Custodian Teddy Colligan; 29th Division Memorial and preserved trenches at Newfoundland Memorial Park
Below Two junior officers at Waterloo, returning to the Front after home leave
Somme90, the special M2 Slipcase Collector’s Edition of The Somme Ninety Years On, a Visual History is still available to buy, although it is now rare—we are down to the final few copies. These are priced at £95.00 each, which includes First Class Postage and packing. Copies are signed by both authors, Duncan Youel and David Edgell. Please telephone 020 8239 9263 to order a copy. Additional postage costs apply outside UK.
Technical specifications: 276x215mm, 226pp, full colour throughout, integral page ribbon, debossed and casebound cover, with slipcase. DVD all regions playable. A CIP catalogue record for this First World War reference book is available from the British Library.
ISBN 0-9553171-0-X / ISBN 978-0-9553171-0-1
The Blighty Project | blighty.org.uk
Telephone London 020 8239 9955 | 9263 or eMail here
See also Some Fields and Stones in France, a recently published collection of modern landscape pictures of the Somme together with supporting stories, and part of the Blighty Project, at sommelandscapes.co.uk