There will be plenty written about the 1st of July on the Somme in 1916. most of it repeated from previous years with the same tales, the same blame game. that is not the purpose of my blog though. There are plenty of books on the subject. plenty of views. This blog is called Scarce Heard Among the Guns. The views and stories are mine, and hopefully rarely heard. two observations on the Somme, and the 1st July 1916. H ere is the first. The Somme was more than the 1st July 1916, and the dying continued long after the killing was done. The photo above is the grave of Elliot Hector . He crossed to France from Southampton with the Middlesex Regiment on the 12th of March 1915 as a private. On the 12th May 1916 he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. Wounded in action he died from wounds on the 7th February 1925. He is not commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. As far as I know he is not on any war memorials. He is one of the many forgotten dead of the Some, yet hundreds walk past his grave. 2nd Lt EH Macintosh is buried in Shorncliffe Military Cemetery near Folkestone.
Not only is the Somme is not all about the 1st July 1916, as seen above. My second observation. Despite the mass killings the nearly 20,000 British dead. The world did not end on that day.
On the 1st of July 1916 the the Grant Arms Hotel, The palace Hotel, and the Strathspey Hotel in Grantown-on-Spey, provided brakes, a type of bus, to take the children of Inverallen on their annual School picnic at Grant Castle. There were games for the children, and plenty of food. Local accounts mentioned that even the sun managed to shine. At around 7pm the tired happy children were taken home on the brakes that had brought them to the castle.
These children grew up in one of the most exciting periods of history. Some lost fathers in war, a few were killed in war. The majority lived to see the first man on the moon. The age of transatlantic air travel. Free universal health care, a standard of living their parents would not have dreamed of. The dawn of an amazing world. yes the Somme saw an end of a certain predictable self reassured world. For others though their life was only just beginning, it would be an incredible hundred years.