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Battle Of The Somme

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The Back Cover

 Ian Campbell the noted musician had this to say about this tune:
 
Dave [Swarbrick] learnt this noble tune from his friend and teacher. Beryl Marriott, who, before emigrating to Canada, worked hard for many years, keeping traditional dance music alive in the Midlands of England. Dave says it was composed by the late Pipe Major Robertson of the Gordon Highlanders, an almost legendary figure in the world of piping, who created many other striking melodies. Some of them have had words put to them by Hamish Henderson.
 from the liner notes of the album

Contemporary Campbell's
1966Transatlantic TRA 137 LP

The Battle of the Somme

Fairport Convention has a live version of this tune and it can be found on the House Full album, recorded live at the Troubadour in Los Angeles

The Battle of The Somme

soldiers at The Battle of the Somme [Click]

The battle which took place between July 1st, 1916 and November 13th, 1916 and resulted in over a million casualties, was, in this website's opinion the true end of the innocence, the great loss of those who truly believed in  'the great adventure" and most certainly the end of rural England as it had be known. The Battle of the Somme was planned as a joint French and British operation. The idea originally came from the French Commander-in-Chief, Joseph Joffre and was accepted by General Sir Douglas Haig, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) commander, despite his preference for a large attack in Flanders. Although Joffre was concerned with territorial gain, it was also an attempt to destroy German manpower. At first Joffre intended for to use mainly French soldiers but the German attack on Verdun in February 1916 turned the Somme offensive into a large-scale British diversionary attack. General Sir Douglas Haig now took over responsibility for the operation and with the help of General Sir Henry Rawlinson, came up with his own plan of attack. Haig's strategy was for a eight-day preliminary bombardment that he believed would completely destroy the German forward defences.

General Sir Henry Rawlinson was was in charge of the main attack and his Fourth Army were expected to advance towards Bapaume. To the north of Rawlinson, General Edmund Allenby and the British Third Army were ordered to make a breakthrough with cavalry standing by to exploit the gap that was expected to appear in the German front-line. Further south, General Fayolle was to advance with the French Sixth Army towards Combles. Haig used 750,000 men (27 divisions) against the German front-line (16 divisions). However, the bombardment failed to destroy either the barbed-wire or the concrete bunkers protecting the German soldiers. This meant that the Germans were able to exploit their good defensive positions on higher ground when the British and French troops attacked at 7.30 on the morning of the 1st July. The BEF suffered 58,000 casualties (a third of them killed), therefore making it the worse day in the history of the British Army. Haig was not disheartened by these heavy losses on the first day and ordered General Sir Henry Rawlinson to continue making attacks on the German front-line. A night attack on 13th July did achieve a temporary breakthrough but German reinforcements arrived in time to close the gap. Haig believed that the Germans were close to the point of exhaustion and continued to order further attacks expected each one to achieve the necessary breakthrough. Although small victories were achieved, for example, the capture of Pozieres on 23rd July, these gains could not be successfully followed up.
On 15th September General Alfred Micheler and the Tenth Army joined the battle in the south at Flers-Courcelette. Despite using tanks for the first time, Micheler's 12 divisions gained only a few kilometres. Whenever the weather was appropriate, General Sir Douglas Haig ordered further attacks on German positions at the Somme and on the 13th November the BEF captured the fortress at Beaumont Hamel. However, heavy snow forced Haig to abandon his gains.
With the winter weather deteriorating Haig now brought an end to the Somme offensive. Since the 1st July, the British has suffered 420,000 casualties. The French lost nearly 200,000 and it is estimated that German casualties were in the region of 500,000. Allied forces gained some land but it reached only 12km at its deepest points.

about WW.1

the battlefield, photographs,
text, film, all you need to know
about this terrible battle

the First World War.com
website pages on one
of the most horrific battles
of WW. 1

a huge searchable data base of
of The British Army in France
and Flanders, Gallipoli and
The Homefront including many
photos of womens war work.

 
massive thanks go out to
 coramunroe for the you tube video feeds
to be found on this site
 
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