Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Images from the First Day on the Somme: 1 July 1916

The long line of men came forward, rifles at the port as ordered.  Now Jerry started.  His machine guns let fly.  Down they all went. I could see them dropping one after another as the gun swept along them. The officer went down at exactly the same time as the man behind him.  Another minute or so and another wave came forward.  Jerry was ready this time and this lot did not get so far as the others. . . At long last, evening came and the light began to fade.  I ventured a look forward and there was Jerry out of his trench, moving among the fallen.  Now I thought, I am going to Berlin too soon.  That decided me; I jumped up and ran as best I could, for I was stiff.  I kept treading on wounded and they called out to me for help.  Gerry let me have a few more shots as I ran, but the light had now gone. . .
Pvt. W.J. Senescall, Cambridge Battalion, 34th Division near La Boisselle

British Howitzers Preparing to Fire, Morning 1 July 1916

Newfoundland Regiment at St. Johns Road Trench Awaiting Movement to Front

Hawthorne Mine Detonated, 0720 Hrs 

34th Division Attacking at La Boisselle

Empty Trench of Departed Scots Guards at Fricourt

Attacking Infatry at Beaumont Hamel

Ration Party of Royal Irish Rifles, 8th Division, Mid-Battle

British Casualties 

German Fatalities in a Captured Trench

German Prisoners Captured During the Day 

Two Fatalities from the Newfoundland Regiment, 29th Division 


  1. A black day for many of the cities and towns of England. Many of the Pals battalions were involved in the attack. whole neighborhoods devastated. Even one hundred years later the openness of the terrain especially where the 34th Division attacked boggles the mind. Sit at the bench dedicated to the Tyneside Irish and Scottish and one can see in the mind's eye the waved of Irish and Scots coming over the rise and working their forward to La Boisselle and how so few survived. One wonders as they visit the cemeteries placed through the Somme region what many of these boys and young men would have become on both sides. Who among them if they have had survived would have stepped up to prevent a greater tragedy twenty-three years later.

  2. We're visiting the Somme this week, and the number of cemeteries and row upon row of white crosses staggers the imagination. It's impossible to grasp the tragedy of this battle, much less the war.

  3. The numbers for the Newfoundland regiment according to the CWGC website is given as 939 casualties that includes 7 Americans serving in that particular regiment.