The Middlebrook Guide to the Somme Battlefields-A Personal Review

I had the great pleasure to meet Martin Middlebrook at a Western Front Association in Northampton during 2015. Martin signed my new second copy of the First Day; to sit alongside the well read signed first edition copy he gave to my grandad.

I also picked up the Battlefield Guide, written by Martin and his late wife.  I thoroughly recommend this book to new visitors to the area, or those returning after many previous trips.  I’m not sure every visitor finds a section that is quite so personally intimate, but here’s mine for Martin and Mary’s thoughts on Triangle Point in Montauban:-

“This was the position reached by the 17th Manchesters (2nd Manchester Pals) in the late morning of 1 July.  The Manchester men fired on German infantry fleeing across the wide valley in front and on artillerymen trying to save their guns.  [When I got to the far end of Montauban I laid down and fired at a retreating German gun team who were dragging their gun away by a rope.  I well remember adjusting my aim for the weight of the bayonet, as taught. (Pte A. A. Bell, 2nd Manchester Pals)*] I regard Triangle Point as one of the most important places on the battlefield.  It represents the culmination of the success of the British right wing on 1 July, a success that was completely unexpected by General Rawlinson whose diary shows that he had little confidence in the 30th Division, which he nearly replaced in the line before the battle.  The unexpectedness of the success here is one reason why no immediate exploitation was attempted, even thought cavalry were available.[We had been told that if we made our three miles the cavalry would follow through with thirty miles. (Pte A. A. Bell, 2nd Manchester Pals)**]

* Pg 182 First Day on the Somme.

** Pg 287

Here’s the blurb:-

While best known as being the scene of the most terrible carnage in the WW1 the French department of the Somme has seen many other…

Source: Pen and Sword Books: The Middlebrook Guide to the Somme Battlefields – Paperback

4 thoughts on “The Middlebrook Guide to the Somme Battlefields-A Personal Review

  1. John Day

    My Grandfather and great uncle were in A company No 1 Platoon 17th Manchesters 8374 A Barlow and 8375 CF Barlow could anyone let me know if they went over at Montauban maybe Triangle Wood they were both woonded on July 1st could anyone let me know . Best regards John Day .

      1. John Day

        Hi many thanks for the information on James Henry . After contacting the CWC they kindly sent me the cemetery where James is buried and sent me a photograph of his grave which I am hoping to visit next year .I know very little about the youngest brother Albert Barlow did he enlist with his other three brothers ? .I traced my grandfather through the Museum in A-U -Lyne the curator Jim was very helpful many thanks for your help if you can find anything about Albert it whould great .Regards John Day Grandson of Arthur 8374 .

  2. 8055bell Post author

    I’ll see if I can find more, although we compared notes in June and think you have been very thorough. I hope your visit went well and if you want to add photos to the profile of the brothers, please let me know.


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