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The First Day on the Somme (ePub)

Revised Edition

Military WWI > Battles & Campaigns > Somme

By Martin Middlebrook
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 17.3 MB (.epub)
Pages: 365
ISBN: 9781473877184
Published: 6th April 2016


£6.99 Print price £25.00

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Making The Headlines

As featured in;

Daily Mirror - True tales of hell from the Battle of the Somme are revealed for the first time

Glasgow Herald - Soldiers' tales from the Somme to be made public

The Guardian - Battle of the Somme recollections released by Imperial War Musuem

ITV News - Battle of the Somme: Harrowing first-hand accounts go online

BBC News - Graphic eyewitness Somme accounts revealed

Manchester Evening News - Soldiers' tales from the first day of the Battle of the Somme go online

Huffington Post - Battle Of The Somme Accounts Uncover Graphic Details In New Imperial War Museum Collection

Daily Mail - Harrowing memoirs from the Somme are released 100 years after the end of the offensive 

Coventry Telegraph 

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After an immense but useless bombardment, at 7.30 am. On 1 July 1916 the British Army went over the top and attacked the German trenches. It was the first day of the battle of the Somme, and on that day the British suffered nearly 60,000 casualties, two for every yard of their front. With more than fifty times the daily losses at El Alamein and fifteen times the British casualties on D-day, 1 July 1916 was the blackest day in the history of the British Army. But, more than that, as Lloyd George recognised, it was a watershed in the history of the First World War. The Army that attacked on that day was the volunteer Army that had answered Kitchener's call. It had gone into action confident of a decisive victory. But by sunset on the first day on the Somme, no one could any longer think of a war that might be won.

Martin Middlebrook's research has covered not just official and regimental histories and tours of the battlefields, but interviews with hundreds of survivors, both British and German. As to the action itself, he conveys the overall strategic view and the terrifying reality that it was for front-line soldiers.

The writing is captivating throughout, inter linking the military story, alongside the more personal... The numerous such personal examples contained throughout the book bring home the human aspect of war and are balanced up so well with the more military history content in the book.

Jon Sandison, Freelance

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Boston Target

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Wanstead & Woodford Guardian

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Chingford Guardian

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Waltham Forest Guardian

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Epping Forest Guardian

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Glasgow Herald

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Manchester Evening News

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Coventry Telegraph

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Northampton Chronicle and Echo

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Spalding Today

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Lincolnshire Free Press

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Boston Standard

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Wartime Memories Project

Ground-breaking work that shows the human tragedy of the disastrous attack of the British Army on July 1, 1916.

WWI Historical Association

Recommended by.

The Racing Post 5/7/16

This is a very moving and thoughtful account of this notorious day in British history, but is also impressively well balanced, and stands up well despite the passing of over four decades.


A great insight into the battle. One of the best.

Graham Purser

Quite simply the best book I have ever read.

Brian Smith

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The Independent 30/6/16

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Suffolk Free Press

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Bury Free Press

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Haverhill Echo

I am well aware that 1st July is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of the Somme, but this book reminds us that there were weeks and weeks of preparation and planning before our soldiers and those of the German Army went "over the top". You'll see from the home page that I've started to celebrate (maybe "celebrate" isn't quite the word I'm looking for, maybe "remember" is the most appropriate word in this context) the battle of the Somme whilst I continue to try to find out about my grandfather, Arthur Robert Norman, who died on the 18th August. Martin Middlebrooks's book mentions Guillmont, which was subjected to one of the first and most terrifying attacks of the Battle. Also Delville Wood, which was, apparently, a precursor, a skirmish, maybe, before the battle royal got really under way. There are reminiscences from men who were actually there, all of whom are now dead and gone, of course, but who will never be forgotten. This is a revised edition - that doesn't matter, it's one hundred years since those innocent lives were lost, and the remembrance of those lives, difficult as it may be, will start in earnest now, with this wonderful book. It's almost like being there yourself... enough said.

Books Monthly, June 2016 - Paul Norman

For those who know little about the Battle of the Somme, this is an excellent starting point. Detailed yet clearly written, the author uses recollections of Somme veterans to tell the story of 1 July. The background to the offensive is also explained very well.

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine June 2016

About Martin Middlebrook

Martin Middlebrook has written many other books that deal with important turning-points in the two world wars, including The First Day on the Somme, Kaisers Battle, The Peenemnde Raid, The Somme Battlefields (with Mary Middlebrook), The Nuremberg Raid 30-21st March 1944 and Arnhem 1944 (all republished and in print with Pen and Sword).
Martin Middlebrook is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and lives in Lincolnshire.

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