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Key dates over July 1916

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Lives lost on this day: 40

1st July 1916 - Battle of the Somme. Major Anglo-French offensive launched in Picardy. On the opening day, the British Army suffers 57,470 casualties, including 19,240 killed – its heaviest ever casualty toll in a 24 hour period.

Rolling Casualty Count: 3346

At the Front:

1st Batt: Arrived in billets at Molliers-au-Bois about 9.30pm. Three Regs of Battery are in the same village, so accommodation limited. At 6.00pm orders to march to Henencourt to billets in huts in Henencourt Wood.

2nd Batt: Batt in the Field near Railway Point. At 2.15am our artillery barrage began. Prisoners were taken but enemy held on and opportunities were missed. Trenches were very damaged. Our raiding party remained in the german line until by the sound of the bugle recalled them. Two men were killed and 15 badly injured plus many slight casualties.

3rd Batt: batt in billets in Varennes.

4th Batt: Batt in Auchon-Vilers Sector waiting its turn to advance. At 6.00am a terrible bombardment began and at 7.30 the advance began. At 9.30 Brigade received orders to reinforce. The Newfoundland Regt wet first and suffered heavy casualties followed by the Essex Regt. At 11.30 the Worcs and Hants were ordered to occupy the front line and prepare for fresh attacks. Five officers and 98 other ranks died. Telephone lines were cut and the trenches were clogged with dead and wounded men.

2/7th Batt: Batt at La Gorgue in rest billets.

2/8 Batt: At Fosse in billets with working parties.

10th Batt: At 9.00am Batt moved to assembly trenches to the north of Albert. The attack had started at 7.0am so rumours and alarms were frequent. Batt could not get in trench as communications were blocked as wounded men were being brought out. It was raining hard and trenches were soon Knee-deep in water.

SMD RFA: Zero Day-Batt at Mailly-Maillet. At 6.30am A Batty opened fire on Beaucourt Chateau. An assault was attempted but then cancelled. Constant firing all day.

Gunner Bosworth of D Battery was awarded the Military Medal for his good work in maintaining telephone cables during the day.

Yeomanry/Cavalry: Reg at Kantara being fed with drafts of men from England. Especially welcome were the old “Yeomen” who had been wounded or sick from Suvla Bay.

On the Home Front:

Yeomanry Prisoners: Mrs. Saunders, of Priest Lane, has heard from her son, Tpr. Maurice H. Saunders, of the Yeomanry, who is a prisoner at Afion-Kura-Hissar. He says he is going on well. Prior to joining the Yeomanry, he was in the Worcestershire Police Force, and was stationed at Stourport under Supt. Walker. He joined up last June, and went out in February last. He writes very cheerfully. He asks to be remembered to all friends; Mr. Charles Pearce, of Cherry Orchard, has had a letter from his two sons, Troopers Harold and Frederick Pearce, now prisoners of war. They say that they are living “like fighting cocks.” Harold has a bayonet wound in the shoulder, but is going on well, Frederick is uninjured; Mr. Peter Hanson, of Pershore, has had a letter from Sergt. R.C. Edwards (whose drapery business he is managing in his absence). Sgt Knight is one of the Yeoman prisoners of war. He writes that he is quite well and all right, and well treated. He says that he can receive parcels the contents of which do not require cooking. He is also at Afion-Kara-Hissar.

Information researched by the WWW100 team