Today is the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. Zero Hour was 07:30 British Summer Time, and that’s why there’s a two-minute silence across the UK from 07:28 when this post should go out.
The battle lasted 141 days and cost a million casualties. Not just British casualties, but Australian, Canadian, French, German, Indian, Irish, New Zealand, Pakistani, South African and others too. The numbers are unimaginable to me, and that’s a good thing because it means my generation hasn’t been blighted by war on that scale. That’s why it’s important to remember. To remember those who found themselves caught up in the nightmare of July 1st, 1916, but also those who served their countries since, including those who still do. Because if we don’t remember, it’s more likely to happen again.
I find this photo particularly poignant. These are men marching to the Somme front line on June 28th 1916 from the 10th Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment known as the Hull Commercials or 1st Hull Pals. I may well have had relatives on my father’s side in this unit.
The BBC has coverage of the centenary here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-36611400
Here’s my Great Uncle Jack. His name’s on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. I think he looks like one of my brothers.