Tag Archives: Twentieth Century

Dilemma on reporting success on the First Day of the Somme

Graham Maddocks summed up the challenge “…even after the passage of more than eighty years [90], this is still not a well known or accepted fact.  Despite obvious and catastrophic set-backs, the men of these two divisions [18th & 30th] accomplished near miracles over difficult and varying terrain and even though it is odious to compare their success with the total failure elsewhere, it is that very failure that has fueled the public’s perception of the Somme battle ever since.”

Any feedback on how I have struck the balance in this site would be welcome.


Private Allan Arthur Bell, 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment

Private Allan Arthur Bell, 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment

In 1974 Arthur Bell wrote notes of his experience in the 17th Battalion, Manchester Regiment.  Arthur was also subsequently interviewed by Martin Middlebrook on BBC Radio 4 where he recounted further experiences in the First World War  It’s fitting to follow Arthur’s original introduction of his damaged helmet:-

“It had a leather frame inside, and was issued to all of us some weeks before the big advance on 1st July, 1916.  A few days after the initial advance I took my helmet to the Company QMS for renewal as it had a hole in it made by a bullet, which had caused it to roll up like the petal of a flower.  “Yer wanna be more careful” said newly promoted ex-Sergt. McM [McMenemy].  Anyhow, he gave me a new hat.

How came I to get a hole in the hat.”Steel Helmet