Soldiers who died on Battle of the Somme first day honoured in poignant ceremony

On July 1st 1916, 20,000 British soldiers died on the very first day of the Battle of the Somme and today they were honoured in an extraordinary poignant ceremony.

Locals in France were absolutely determined it should go ahead despite the coronavirus crisis.

They could have called it off but were adamant they wanted pay tribute.

In torrential rain a handful of people gathered, under umbrellas, to pay their respects to the men who paid the ultimate price.

Last year 1,500 were here at the famous Lochnagar Crater where the battle started.



At precisely 7.28am this morning – the very moment the battle began – a bagpiper walked around the huge crater playing “The Battle of the Somme”

As he finished people present symbolically blew whistles to mirror the sound made by those brave men who went over the top 104 years ago.

He then played Abide with Me as rain cascaded down.



Soldiers who died on Battle of the Somme first day honoured in poignant ceremony


Soldiers who died on Battle of the Somme first day honoured in poignant ceremony

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It’s the first time in 45 years the crater’s owner Richard Dunning could not attend – stranded in the UK by corona travel restrictions.

Local resident Julie Thomson paid tribute to his work organising ceremonies and said: “We have come here today to pay tribute to ordinary men who did extraordinary thing.

“It was certainly different this year but we all wanted to pay our respects.”

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