Gransnet forums

News & politics

Centenary Battle of the Somme

(74 Posts)
ninathenana Fri 01-Jul-16 07:36:57

Just been watching this, very moving.

Alea Fri 01-Jul-16 07:38:25

It is unimaginable to us today, isn't it? sad

whitewave Fri 01-Jul-16 07:39:39

Tears at the unimaginable and utterly unnecessary carnage.

ninathenana Fri 01-Jul-16 07:42:10

Yes, someone just said about the 14,15 year olds that took part. That really brings it home.

M0nica Fri 01-Jul-16 07:59:01

I too listened to this with tears in my yees.

All three soldiers in my family were dead before the Somme even started. They all died in the Battle of Ypres, 1915. Last year I visited their graves.

suzied Fri 01-Jul-16 08:04:41

I've visited by great uncle's grave too, he was 18 when he was killed. When you read about the battle it was really a case of incompetent leadership, " lions led by donkeys". The infantry were sent over the top, walking into machine gun fire, mown down in rows. The Thiepval memorial is very moving to visit, it has the names of 75,000 men who were missing in the Somme, blown to pieces, and have no grave.

GandTea Fri 01-Jul-16 08:04:51

Lest we forget

whitewave Fri 01-Jul-16 08:09:44

Mum was born before the end of the war in 1918. Yesterday I asked her if as a child she was aware of the aftermath.

She remembers lots of men with peg legs but what has always stayed with her were the beggars on the streets with terrible injuries.

Lest we forget indeed.

PRINTMISS Fri 01-Jul-16 08:13:44

My grandfather served at the Somme, survived, but my mother always referred to him as a drunkard, which probably says a lot.

Stansgran Fri 01-Jul-16 08:24:13

My DH's g grandmother lost several sons to the WW1 and received a letter from the Queen as one mother to another grieving for her loss. It is unimaginable. Very moving. Every time I go to our cathedral I look at the list of those lost for that day in both wars . It is very rare that there isn't one entry.

kittylester Fri 01-Jul-16 08:31:59

My great aunt had an illegitimate baby after her fiance was killed at the Some. The baby went to his family as they were much better off. When I knew my great aunt she was always the life and soul of the party but she was also slightly 'unstable'. When she had dementia she carried a 'baby' with her at all times.

sunseeker Fri 01-Jul-16 08:34:28

The presenter on local radio said this morning that on the first day alone 17,240 men were killed, that doesn't take into account those who were wounded and died later. Such a terrible waste of young lives

Pittcity Fri 01-Jul-16 08:48:37

I received an email this morning from a lady who was looking up her relatives who died in WW1. She found my family tree and we have a cousin in common who died of wounds on 3rd July 1916, probably wounded a hundred years ago today.
He had a wife and children. So sad. We must continue to remember.

NanaandGrampy Fri 01-Jul-16 08:53:36

An unimaginable cost.

In times when warfare and carnage can be inflicted from one continent to another without seeing the faces of your enemy we must remember this.

Mans inhumanity to man.

Indinana Fri 01-Jul-16 08:58:39

kittylester what a tragic story - it brought a lump to my throat. The men's suffering was horrific in WW1, but there was also the life-long suffering of the women who were left behind. Your poor aunt carried that torment with her all her life. So sad sad

Anniebach Fri 01-Jul-16 10:02:02

My maternal grandmothers first husband was killed in WW1, she was left with three children to raise, there was very little support from the country so war widows suffered greatly. Three years later she married my grandfather then died giving birth to my mother , she was thirty two, I think of her as a victim of war too

Maggiemaybe Fri 01-Jul-16 12:04:50

I've just been to a memorial service at our local community park. It was very moving, but what brought me and others to tears was the primary school choir singing those cheery, upbeat songs that all the young men sang as they marched off with their pals, so many of them to their death.

AlieOxon Fri 01-Jul-16 13:05:02

I have been watching the memorial too. The music particularly affected me and I realised that the WW1 songs came back in my early childhood in WW2....very unexpectedly emotional and nostalgic.

Can anyone point me to a site which actually lists the music sung and played...especially I want to know what the French choir were singing, and sounding very like Welsh harmony!

And on the home front, anyone read 'Testament of Youth' by Vera Brittain?

Granny23 Fri 01-Jul-16 13:18:18

I also found the commemoration very moving, and loved the song from the French Choir, but did wish it had been more inclusive. I wondered if the organisers would have been brave enough to include 'The Green Fields of France' but I suppose it would not have been appropriate in a mainly military ceremony. Here is the original version from Eric Bogle who wrote it - there is also another version by Bogle sung half in English and half in German.

AnneGran Fri 01-Jul-16 13:23:16

It was really moving to see the commemoration this morning from the Thiepval memorial! We know that my late Mum's brother's name is there. He was 19 when he died at the Battle of the Somme in September 1916. His body was never identified and I believe that his father would not allow the door of their home to be locked after that in case his son came home. My Mum never met him because she wasn't born until the year after he died. So sad!

nigglynellie Fri 01-Jul-16 13:45:26

Yes I've read, Testament of youth, it's very very moving. My grandfather was in the Ox and Bucks LI from 1915 (aged 22) -1919. He was 'mildly?' gassed and shell shocked, but survived!my stepfathers aunt lost her husband in 1917; they had only been married for six weeks, together for 10 days!!! She never remarried! My DH's grandfather was killed in early November 1918, he was awarded the MC for bravery, I wonder if that was a comfort to his widow and young son? All unbelievably tragic. What really reduced me to tears was the letter that was read out written by a lady thanking the army for letting her know of her husbands death. I thought it was a wonderful memorial service, even the rain somehow seemed appropriate.

M0nica Fri 01-Jul-16 13:58:20

I have read 'Testament to Youth' and the letters the book was based on, which reduced me to tears. They were of the moment and immediate in their responses to events. The book, is emotions recollected in tranquility and reconsidered. it gives a different more reflective view.

My grandmother had her brother, husband and brother-in-law die in the war. At the end of the war she was left on her own to support herself, her two children, her mother and an invalid sister on a lance corporal's pension.

nigglynellie Fri 01-Jul-16 14:40:32

It was a shocking business, unbelievably dreadful. I forgot one other rellie!! A cousin of my natural father who was killed in 1915 aged 20. His name is on the Menin Gate. I don't like to forget poor Ernest.

tanith Fri 01-Jul-16 14:48:13

My Paternal Grandfather died on the Somme his name is listed on the Thiepval Memorial he was a dispatch motorcycle rider only 19 my Dad was born 3mths later, they never met. I found the coverage very moving indeed.

Bluecat Fri 01-Jul-16 15:15:42

My great-uncle Stuart died on the Somme and his name is on the Thiepval memorial, as yet another whose body was never found. My dad, born in October 1916, was named after him.