Peo­ple gather to hon­our those lost at the Bat­tle of the Somme

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - by Tom Her­bert tom.her­bert@trin­i­tymir­ Twit­ter: @TRHer­bert

100 years ago, on July 1 1916, Bri­tish and French armies fought the Ger­mans in one of the blood­i­est battles in his­tory.

At 7.30am on July 1 1916, Bri­tish troops left their trenches and, told to walk slowly across No Man’s Land, they were met by a hail of ma­chine gun fire which mowed them down in their thou­sands.

Nearly 20,000 Bri­tish sol­diers – some just teenagers – died on the first day.

In all, nearly half a mil­lion Bri­tish, around 200,000 French and around 500,000 Ger­mans died dur­ing the five month bat­tle. The bat­tle it­self was fought along a 15 mile stretch close to the River Somme in North­ern France, with the in­ten­tion of cre­at­ing a de­ci­sive vic­tory for the Bri­tish and French.

But just three square miles of land were cap­tured.

The 1/4th Ox­ford­shire and Buck­ing­hamshire Light In­fantry was sent to the front line in 1915 and while the men were not in­volved in the first day of fight­ing at the Somme suf­fered – as many oth­ers had – im­mense ca­su­al­ties by the end.

To mark the cen­te­nary com­mem­o­ra­tions were held across the UK, with vig­ils held at West­min­ster Abbey and a cer­e­mony at the Lochna­gar crater in France.

There have also been a num­ber of cer­e­monies held in Bucks to re­mem­ber the huge sac­ri­fices made.

The Chal­font St Peter Bri­tish Royal Le­gion held a ser­vice of re­mem­brance at 7.30am on Fri­day at the Chal­font St Peter Parish Church, to hon­our the war dead.

And an­other ser­vice was held by the Amer­sham & District Royal Bri­tish Le­gion at the Me­mo­rial Gar­dens in Old Amer­sham at 7.15am to mark the be­gin­ning of the bat­tle.

On Sun­day (July 3) a re­mem­brance pa­rade was held at 11am, at the war me­mo­rial in Che­sham, in hon­our of the lives lost dur­ing the bat­tle.

Hon­our: Lo­cal vet­er­ans, res­i­dents and dig­ni­taries gather in Chal­font St Peter and Amer­sham to mark the 100th an­niver­sary of the start of the Bat­tle of The Somme

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