Slaughter on the Somme: 1 July 1916 (Paperback)
The Complete War Diaries of the British Army’s Worst Day
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At 07.30 hours on 1 July 1916, the devastating cacophony of the Allied artillery fell silent along the front on the Somme. The ear-splitting explosions were replaced by the shrill sound of hundreds of whistles being blown. At that moment, tens of thousands of British soldiers climbed out from the trenches on their part of the Western Front, and began to make their way steadily towards the German lines opposite. It was the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
By the end of the day, a number of the regiments involved had met with some degree of success; others had suffered heavy losses for no gain, whilst a few quite literally ceased to exist. That day, the old infantry tactics of the British Army clashed head-on with the reality of modern warfare. On what is generally accepted as the worst day in the British Army’s history, there were more than 60,000 casualties – a third of them fatal.
In this publication, the authors have drawn together, for the first time ever, all the War Diary entries for 171 British Regiments that went “over the top” that day – a day which even now still touches so many families both in the United Kingdom and around the world.
The result will be a vital work of reference to the events of 1 July 1916, a valuable information source for not only those interested in military history, but genealogists and historians alike.
For any lay enthusiast, researcher or historian, who has a particular interest in the First World War, and in particular the Battle of the Somme, this book is an absolute must to have. So why is this book so special? For the first time the details of the events, recorded by the men who wrote the entries in the official war diaries of the battalions that ‘went over the top’ on the 1st July, have been transcribed from the original documents and brought together in a single volume.Jon Sandison, Freelance
I can now urge you to go out (or click on the mouse – though I always encourage supporting your local bookseller) and get a copy of this book - but do not just put it on your bookshelf to use for reference. Read it – it can be difficult at times (emotionally and textually) but so very worth the effort. Despite – or for me, because of – the range of quality and content in the diaries, I just found this collection of the human experience to be wholly compelling.The Western Front Association, Dennis Williams
Read the full review here!
The authors have certainly historians a service with this work.SOFNAM
In this publication, the authors have drawn together, for the first time ever, all the War Diary entries for 171 British Regiments that went "over the top" that day - a day which even now still touches so many families both in the United Kingdom and around the world. The result is a vital work of reference to the events of 1 July 1916, a valuable information source for not only those interested in military history, but genealogists and historians alike.The Armourer, September/October 2016
This amazing book is an incredible resource of all the War Diaries of every single unit that went into action on 1st July 1916: the First Day of the Battle of the Somme. The book examines the battlefield from Gommecourt in the North to Montauban in the South, so covering the whole Somme front. For each unit there are some notes and then an exact reproduction of the diary. Many units lost so many officers and men that in some cases the information is sparse but others have long and fascinating accounts. Maps in the book help to make sense of where units were, and there are some good illustrations. An absolutely invaluable resource for family historians and battlefield visitors who want to have the detail of events a century ago in one handy volume. Highly recommended.Somme 1916, Paul Reed
This isn't really a book that is designed to be read through in a single go. This is partly because neighbouring battalions tended to have similar experiences, so there is quite a bit of repetition, but also because the massive scale of the project means it all becomes a bit overwhelming if you do. Instead it is best seen as an utterly invaluable reference guide, to be used to research the actions of an individual battalion, division or corps, or a particular part of the battle. Having said that, reading a large series of the diaries in sequence does give you a very good feel for the way in which the events of the day differed on different parts of the front. The book moves from north to south, so we meet the least successful parts of the attack first, and end on the border with the French, where XIII Corps captured most of its first objectives and one division achieved all of its objectives for the day.HistoryOfWar.org
This is a very impressive piece of work, and an invaluable reference work for anyone interested in the battle of the Somme.
As featured in.Britain at War Issue 88
As featured onIn The Footsteps
This is a very impressive piece of work, and an invaluable reference work for anyone interested in the battle of the Somme.History of War
A fascinating read and highly recommended.Stand Easy Blog
In 'Slaughter on the Somme', historians Martin Mace and John Grehan have, for the first time, presented the war diaries of those battalions which went over the top on July 1 1916, to form the most comprehensive and unique narrative of that fateful day. The book has been formulated from transcribing literally scores of handwritten diaries, which given their age and the conditions in which they were written is no mean feat. The comprehensive scope of the book also means this will surely become a standard reference text for anyone from the amateur family historian to the academic scholar and will stand alongside other great works on the battle.Mark McKay, Burton Mail
This is a book that fully deserves your shelf space.The Bulletin
This large and comprehensive work brings together the war diaries of those units of the British Army engaged in the first day of the Somme battles, 1st July 1916. It is an excellent work and one not to be overlooked. A scholarly work 9/10.Great War Magazine
[The diaries] form a compelling overview of the battle as it degenerated into a slaughter.Good Book Guide
A work of stunning dedication. Highly recommended.Stand To - Western Front Association
Haunting first hand accounts.Accrington Observer
Book of the week.Spartacus Educational