THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME
The Somme area witnessed many battles. For centuries, the inhabitants of this county endured attacks. Romans, Vikings, Spanish and others came to plunder the area. Later in 1870,started a series of wars against the Germans. First when the Prussians came, then in 1914 and finally in 1940 when France capitulated and became an occupied country.
The inhabitants of the Somme witnessed two ghastly wars during the 20th century. The most deadly battle which took place in the Somme started on 1st July 1916. But on that day, if the French army did not suffer from heavy losses, the British army did.
1st July 1916: At 7:30 a.m., 100 000 British soldiers left their trenches between Serre and Maricourt (the French territory started at Maricourt, in the South of the county).
A lady who lived in Millencourt, a village behind the British lines, often used to say she had heard British soldiers roar when they were charging the enemy. How brave they were! But in vain . Most of the soldiers were killed by the German machine-guns.
By 9 a.m about 60 000 soldiers had been killed or injured .No army has ever lost so many men in such a short time!
That date and the Battle of the Somme (which lasted several months until the winter 1916) will never be forgotten by the British people.
THE SOMME NOWADAYS
If you visit the country, you will be amazed by the number of British, German, French, Australian, New Zealander … cemeteries in the area. Thousands of soldiers who fought in the Somme for many years during WWI are resting in peace there.
If you need more information or if you want to book a guided visit of the Souvenir Tour (Circuit du Souvenir), contact the tourist office in Albert. (See Infos. pratiques). You'll also find addresses of excellent and interesting museums in Albert and Péronne.
Office du Tourisme d'Albert
9 rue Gambetta
TEL : 03 22 75 16 42 FAX : 03 22 75 11 72