The Battle of the Somme - The 12 Battles of the Somme (1 July - 18 November, 1916) - CWGC

The rain of late September was as of nothing compared to the downpours experienced during October which turned the battlefield into a barely negotiable morass. A working party wearing waterproofs and waders and carrying shovels about to start off in the rain near St Pierre DivionIncreasingly cold weather added hugely to the discomforts of the troops. Movement became an exhausting and despairing business in a landscape swept clear of all reference points: 'The country was more than ever devoid of landmarks - it was just a wide expanse of shell-holes in a dark brown, almost black kind of earth - and no one knew either their own position or those of the enemy within a few hundred yards....The weather became steadily worse, and though water is supposed to run downhill and the division was on the slope of a hill, the troops might just as well have been in the middle of a pond.' ('The 56th Division', Major C H Dudley Ward, London: John Murray, 1921; pp.82-83).


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