01 July 2017

CWGC marks first day of the Battle of the Somme

Today marks the anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme – a battle that left a deep mark on millions of families across the Commonwealth.

 

Fought between July and November 1916, the battle was one of the defining events of the First World War.

It is often remembered for the huge losses on the first day, but the Somme offensive continued for a total of 141 days.

An estimated 3.5 million men took part in the battle in 1916. By its end, well over one million had become casualties.

Some 150,000 Commonwealth servicemen lie buried in 250 military and 150 civilian cemeteries on the Somme. Six memorials to the missing

commemorate by name more than 100,000 whose graves are not known.

The cemeteries and memorials built and cared for by the CWGC across the Somme, including Thiepval Anglo-French Cemetery, Thiepval Memorial, Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, and Serre Road Cemetery No.2, stand as a lasting reminder of the human cost of the fighting in this region throughout the First World War.

Find out more about the Battle of the Somme here.

Latest News

Monday 23 April will mark 100 years since the Zeebrugge Raid. One of the most celebrated episodes of the First World War at sea, the Royal Navy attempted to block the Belgian port and prevent the German navy from using it. More than 200 sailors and marines were killed and over 300 wounded. The dead are commemorated by the CWGC at sites in the UK and in Belgium, including Zeebrugge Churchyard which will be visited by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal over the weekend.

Today (18 April) is the International Day for Monuments and Sites, which aims to raise public awareness about the diversity and vulnerability of the world’s built monuments and heritage sites and the efforts required to protect and conserve them. We have asked the Commission’s conservation team to tell us about four of CWGC’s impressive, but lesser-known sites from around the world. Which one would you like to visit? Vote in our Twitter Poll.

A burial service was held at the Commission’s New Irish Farm Cemetery this morning for Captain H J I Walker and six unknown soldiers, more than 100 years after their death.