Commemorating the Centenary: Somme 1916

The Battle of the Somme started on the 1st July 1916 and continued until the 18th November 1916. A Franco-British offensive on the Somme was planned as the major Allied effort on the Western Front in 1916. However, the start of a desperate struggle between French and German forces at Verdun in February meant that the British Army assumed the main role in the Somme.

British troops were a mixture of pre-war regular soldiers and territorials, with tens of thousands of volunteers. Many belonged to ‘Pals’ battalions, drawn from local communities, clubs and places of work, who had joined up together, trained together and were now to fight  together.

On 1st July 1916, after a week-long artillery bombardment of German positions, the infantry assault began. The bombardment was supposed to have neutralised German machine guns for the British and Allied troops, but the well-fortified German army withstood the bombardment. Across large sections of the frontline, British and Commonwealth forces made little progress and suffered heavy losses. By the end of the first day alone, the British Army had suffered some 57,000 casualties – including more than 19,000 killed.

Operations continued for 141 days. Men from every part of Britain and across the British Empire fought as part of the British Army. Both sides committed millions of men and huge quantities of munitions to the struggle.

When the offensive was halted in November, more than one million British Empire, French and German servicemen had been wounded, captured, or killed.

The Battles of the Somme 1916:

Battle of Albert, 1 – 13 July 1916
Attack on Gommecourt, 1 July 1916
Battle of Bazentin (or the Bazentin Ridge), 14 – 17 July 1916
Attack at Fromelles, 19-20 July 1916
Attacks on High Wood, 20 – 25 July 1916
Battle of Delville Wood, 15 July – 3 September 1916
Battle of Pozieres, 23 July – 3 September 1916
Battle of Guillemont, 3 – 6 September 1916
Battle of Ginchy, 9 September 1916
Battle of Flers-Courcelette, 15 – 22 September 1916
Battle of Morval, 25 – 28 September 1916
Battle of Thiepval, 26 – 28 September 1916
Battle of Le Transloy, 1 – 18 October 1916
Battle of the Ancre Heights, 1 October – 11 November 1916
Battle of the Ancre, 13 – 18 November 1916

Map of the Somme

The men of Staveley who died in the Battles of the Somme in 1916:

Name Regiment Cemetery or Memorial Panel or Grave Ref
Edgar Bennett Royal Fusiliers Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 8 C 9 A and 16 A
Albert E Cherry Leicestershire Regiment Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 2 C and 3 A
Gladney Davies K.O.Y.L.I. Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 11 C and 12 A
James Wm Gillings Sherwood Foresters Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A
Ernest Jervis Lincolnshire Regiment Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 1 C
John W Milner Leicestershire Regiment Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 2 C and 3 A
John T Oakley Sherwood Foresters Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A
Joseph Smith York and Lancaster Regiment Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 14 A and 14 B
William Vardy Sherwood Foresters Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 10 C, 10 D and 11 A
Joseph Walsh Royal Fusiliers Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 8 C 9 A & 16 A
Samuel Alvey Royal Field Artillery Beauval Communal Cemetery B.33
Norman Barlow King’s Royal Rifle Corps Hebuterne Military Cemetery I. H. 13
James Benison Lincolnshire Regiment Daours Communal Cemetery Ext I.B.6
Leonard Hasman Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Ancre British Cemetery 16 F3
Arthur Loomes West Yorkshire Regiment Flatiron Copse Cemetery, Mametz III. H. 11
Walter Musgrove Australian Infantry (AIF) Gordon Dump Cemetery, Ovillers la Boiselle I. B. 45
Charles H. Stubbs Royal Army Medical Corps Guards Cemetery, Lesboeufs Sp. Mem. 12
Herbert Britton (Briddon) Sherwood Foresters Chesterfield (Spital) Cemetery

(died in England of wounds)

Old. 3978

Staveley Remembers is taking part in the CWGC Living Memory Project to commemorate the 141 days of the Somme.

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