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

Colour footage of the building of El Alamein Memorial has recently been discovered in the CWGC archive. The footage is now part of a display about the Commission’s work in Egypt at the El Alamein Museum, which has undergone a complete renovation to mark the battle’s 75th anniversary, thanks to a collaborative effort between many nations, with the encouragement of President Sisi. Here is a sneak peek of the footage.

The 75th anniversary of one of the most significant battles of the Second World War will be marked at a ceremony in the CWGC’s El Alamein Cemetery and Memorial in Egypt on Saturday 21 October. The commemoration will be the largest for many years and, as the 75th, is likely to be the last on this scale. Ahead of Saturday's ceremony, here is more about the battle and the Commission’s work in North Africa.

Rededication ceremonies were held for two First World War soldiers at CWGC cemeteries in Belgium today, more than 100 years after they died.