The Somme 1916

The First of July by Ed Skelding

Designed as a companion to a series of films called ‘Walking the Western Front’ which were released in 2012, this book studies the Battle of the Somme. The book is a pleasant mix of black and white photographs taken of locations in the 1990s for the film series accompanied by full colour images of the sites as they look today. It really is quite remarkable considering this battle took place over 100 years ago that changes are still occurring to the landscape in the last two to three decades.

While the book is initially quite traditional in its description of events which took place in July 1916, it is, however, dominated by an impressive photographic record of every major battlefield site that took place at the beginning of the Battle of the Somme. The battles covered where at Albert, The Grandstand, Gommecourt Salient, Serre, Redan Bridge/Beaumont Hamel, Newfoundland Park, Ancre Valley/Thiepval, Leipzig Salient, Ovillers/La Boisselle, Fricourt, Mametz and Montauban.

Each chapter/battle is led by a clear map of the area annotated with the units involved with arrows indicated the direction of their attack. An excellent overview of the day’s action follows, scattered with personal memories of that horrific first day which would see 57,470 casualties suffered; the worst day in the history of the British Army. The remainder of each chapter is packed with photographs, of which there are over 150 throughout this high quality book.

An incredibly thought provoking approach and good introduction to those who do not know what occurred on July 1, 1916 in Northern France.    

Highly recommended and thanks to Charlie at Pen & Sword for our review copy.  



ISBN: 978-1781592021

Price: £25.00

Pages: 230

Format: hardback – 195mm x 260mm

Publisher: Pen & Sword Military