REMEMBERING THE SACRIFICE OF THE SOMME
People gather to honour those lost at the Battle of the Somme
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