Military Re-enactment - The Battle of the Somme

If ever there is an example of the futility of war, it is the Battle of the Somme, where there were over a million casualties in a fierce six-month battle which achieved virtually nothing for either side. The battle, which took place between July and November 1916, was an attempt by mainly British forces to break through the German lines on a 15-mile front north of the River Somme in France. The British officer in charge, General Haig, was a former cavalry officer who believed that a head on charge of infantry was the best way to attack the enemy.

Haig thought that a week-long artillery bombardment of the German trenches would destroy their defences and that the British troops could over-run them with a minimum of casualties. The Germans, however, had dug in deep, and were able to mow down the advancing troops as they went over the top into No Man’s Land. On the first day of the conflict alone, the British army suffered 57,470 casualties, 19,240 of which were fatal. After five months of constant conflict, they had managed to advance a total of ten kilometres. Newhaven Fort has arranged a day of activities to mark the 90th anniversary of that terrible first day of the battle. There will be a lecture by historian Andrew Denley, a military re-enactment by the Croix de Lorraine Society, and an exhibition detailing the role of Commonwealth soldiers in the war. Lest we forget. AG

Lest we forget: there were over a million casualties in the Battle of
the Somme
Newhaven Fort
When? From 10.30am
How Much? Adults £5.50 Children £3.60

Newhaven Fort
(t) 01273 517622
(w) Website

Haig’s military bombardment click here.
(mov) Watch