Eye-witnesses give their accounts of one of human history's bloodiest battles
‘Somme. The whole history of the world cannot contain a more ghastly word,’ was an eye-witness’s verdict on one of human history’s bloodiest battles. On 1 July 1916, British and French troops attacked the German 2nd Army. By the day’s end, there were 57,470 casualties in the British ranks, including 19,240 dead. The French had 1,590 casualties; the Germans had lost between 10,000 and 12,000 men. In one day. Today’s commemoration begins at 7.00am, the time battle started, and returns to France at 9.15am, when the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry pay their respects at the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.