Documentary – First Day of the Battle of the Somme

This is an excellent documentary and embraces the terrible reality of the slaughter in  opening of the big push.  I watched about 10 years ago and remained unprepared for the overwhelming scale of the losses and horror faced by the volunteer army.

My research has taken me to these locations and I’m now too familiar with the experiences of our forebears.  Seeing this portrayal is now a raw experience, but incredibly worthwhile.

The programme is especially relevant as it features events of 22nd Manchesters, especially Captain Charlie May and Sergeant Richard Tawney.

I’ve read a little about Richard Tawney and feel he was a giant if his generation.  I also recommend Gerry Harrison’s book on Charlie’s diaries.

The success at Mametz (Spoiler Sorry) was emulated by 16th, 17th, 18th & 19th Battalions, next door at Montauban.  21st were also with 22nd Bttn at Mametz, with 20th nearby at Fricourt.  That’s @ 7,000 men from one City!  I wish this had been mentioned, as they all gained their objectives, at tremendous loss.  Albert Andrews features in the film and he was 19th Manchesters – not 22nd.  Valid criticism, but still immense appreciation for the makers of this film.  Greater respect to the men – on both sides of the line – who fought, fell or survived on 1st July 1916.

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