The Battle of the Somme was fought at such terrible cost that it has come to symbolise the tragic futility of the First World War. Its first day of conflict remains the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army and it was felt deeply at home.
Many of the soldiers who had signed up were everyday young men from close-knit communities across the UK who subsequently suffered horrible losses. They were good friends, neighbours and colleagues who signed up together on the promise they would serve alongside each other. It sounded easy. These patriotic volunteers were sold on the romance of war, “Your Country Needs You”, and became known as the ‘Pals’ battalions.
The 100th anniversary provides an opportunity to commemorate the Service and sacrifice of those who lost their lives in the battle, to reflect upon the human cost of conflict and to have hope for a more peaceful world.
The Royal British Legion has provided a toolkit of resources and the Somme 100 app for mobile devices on their WW1 centenary website: http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/remembrance/ww1-centenary/somme-100