Our Men On

the Somme

(1st July - 18th Nov 1916)

The battle that came to symbolise the true horror of warfare in The Great War.  This one battle seemed to epitomise the total futility of trench warfare and the ineptitude of the British Army High Command

 *  The Battle lasted for 141 days from 1st July to 18th November 1916

*  On the FIRST day 20,000 British soldiers were killed, 40,000 wounded or taken prisoner

*  It was the worse day in the history of the British Army

*  By the time the offensive ended in November the British had suffered around 420,000 casualties


Brimington Wreath laid at Thiepval Memorial in honour of our fallen on the Somme

Brimingtons Roll of Honour

 Losses  - 13 Dead

   Have no known grave & are remembered on the Thiepval Memorial

  5   Buried in various Commonwealth war cemeteries in the Somme area

Others suffered life-changing injuries and many more were wounded & maimed



The Men Who Fell

             


" ...my Corporal I saw go down and the men behind him would have suffered the same fate to a man”

                                                                    ( Private Walter Turner in a note home Sept 1916)

 

THE DREADED NEWS
to the families at home

    Told in letters to the families at home from CO’s and comrades

   Account of Private John W Keeling’s Death (12th Aug) 
"He had to cross open exposed ground and dash from shell-hole to shell-hole during which  he was struck –
he 
died almost instantly and felt no pain "
(Extract from report in the Derbyshire Courier – Aug 1916)

 Private Arthur Turners death, reported by his platoon Commander (Aug 5th)
“…I regret to inform you that your son was killed in action at Bazentin Wood on July 14th.  One consolation, his death was perfectly instantaneous and painless.   He was hit in the heart by a shrapnel bullet
(Extract from report in the Derbyshire Courier – Aug 1916)
 
 
                                                          The Death of Private Ernest Jervis (19thJuly)
                                    "...
the enemy dropped a big shell smack in the trench.  It knocked two out, missed one
                                     altogether and hit me and Ernie Jervis
.  He shouted to me he said -'it had blown his leg                                                                       off. "    I dont know where he is (Extract from report in the Derbyshire Courier – July 1916)

Report of Private George E Pratt death sent to his wife in Queen Street  (Aug 1916)

…He was one of a party told go off wiring in front of our trench and the Germans came out and bombed them 
your husband getting killed instantly.  He never suffered any pain and he died straight away. 
 George was a jolly good soldier, true and steady
.”
(Extract from report in the Derbyshire Courier – Sept  1916)


Terrible Injuries 

Many Brimington soldiers survived the Battle of the Somme, but suffered life-changing injuries  

                                     (Taken from newspaper and medical reports, as well as the soldier’s military records)

Guardsman Sims Nadin (Victoria Street)
Severely wounded in back and stomach - 15th July 1916.  Bed ridden for many years after the war.  
It took him several long and painful years to recover


Private Ernie Cappendale -Lincolnshire Regiment (King Street)

Serious shrapnel wounds to hip, back and right arm -  19th July and was hospitalised for several months. He never regained full use of his arm and suffered periods of severe shell-shock


Private George Pacey – Sherwoods (Queen Street)
29th July -Machine gun wound in left leg and bullet to his lung which was lodged there and could not be removed.  He  lost two fingers from his right hand and suffered severe shell-shock..

Private Harry Butler- Yorks & Lancs (High Street)
Seriously wounded 3rd July – machine gun wounds to his head, groin & his right leg was eventually amputated below the knee, due to infection. 

Gunner Jack Cocksedge – MGC (Victoria Street)
20th Sept – severely wounded by shrapnel in the face, shoulder and lower back -  during heavy shelling near his trench. 
His face was left badly scared and he lost the sight of one eye

 


Quotes & stories  from the lads who were there

Taken from letters, personal accounts and newspaper articles

There was nowhere to hide, so we kept going                            
 desperate to find a shell-hole for shelter….”

(
Private J Richardson – Cemetery Terrace 12th July 1916)


 “ I fear I have lost many or my comrades and friends, they have not been heard of since the first day

  ( Private A Cantrell, Brimington Common – from a letter home July 1916)

   You are not to worry but I have gunshot wounds to my face, eye, neck and cheek…’

   (Private J Brown to his sister in Princess Street- written by Nurse Healy on his behalf -July 1916)


                                " The Germans simply swept the earth with bullets, but we had to keep on going ....                                                    and then I got bowled over with a bullet that must have had my name on…”          

    (Corporal J. R. Whitehead (KOYLI) in a letter sent to his wife in Brimington )  




In the Somme area there are 410 Commonwealth Cemeteries

We’ve visited almost 300 over of the years.  

                                       Just a few of the Cemeteries on the Somme                                 

        

" ..there is some corner of a foreign field, that is for ever England “ 

  (from ‘The Soldier’ by Rupert Brooke)   

Click here for  :  Our Remembrance on the Somme -   July 2016 

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