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 The Somme 1916 - then and now photos

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Meles meles
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PostSubject: The Somme 1916 - then and now photos   Fri 01 Jul 2016, 20:57

Here are some then-and-now photos from about the time of the 1916 Somme offensive:

The Guardian - Somme, then-and-now photos

or just go to to:

 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/01/the-somme-during-the-first-world-war-and-now-interactive

... as usual with these things you need to have a little patience as it might take some time to load ... but it's worth the wait.
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: The Somme 1916 - then and now photos   Sat 02 Jul 2016, 10:45

I don't know if you are aware of We're here because we're here which happened across the UK yesterday. This consisted of groups of young men in 1916 uniforms appearing unannounced at railway stations, ferry terminals and in the streets handing out cards with the names of the dead inscribed. It was incredibly effective and moving and a million miles from any sense of triumphalism and empty words.

This is from our National Theatre showing some of the ways this played out across Scotland.

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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: The Somme 1916 - then and now photos   Sat 02 Jul 2016, 11:48

I hated how the Brexit Brigade used the commemoration of the Somme to justify their own political views yesterday, a terrible shame and disrespectful into the bargain.

All that gumph about how those poor sods gave their lives for freedom and democracy and yabba yabba yabba. What a load of revisionist tripe, WWI was all about jealously protecting the Empire from a new challenger, Germany. That the Empire only ended in destroying itself at the end of the process (WWII) is probably a more pertinent lesson for all at this time.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: The Somme 1916 - then and now photos   Sat 02 Jul 2016, 17:50

For the 36th (Ulster) Division the Somme is interchangeable with Thiepval as the name of the battle which was to define slaughter on an unprecedented scale. As part of a joint British and Canadian venture the 36th were to play a major role in the assault on Thiepval Ridge, one of the principal objectives declared by the Allied commanders at the start of the Somme campaign.

The village of Thiepval sat at the top of this ridge, but its most prominent point was occupied by Thiepval Chateau, home of the Comte de Breda whose lands the villagers had worked for centuries. Just prior to the war it had been renovated by a new owner, Charles Poitier, who had quickly abandoned it in the face of the German advance through the region in 1914. At first commandeered as a field command HQ, its visibility as an integrated part of what was to become a rather stagnant front line meant that its practical use was limited, though the Germans still retained the structure as a convenient reconnaissance point surveying the Ancre river valley below - by July 1916 the entrenched positions of about a million British, French and allied troops.


Thiepval Chateau

It was the chateau's visibility which proved its doom. In the great offensive that commenced on July 1st 1916 the ridge on which it stood, almost 500 meters above seal level, was the task of the 36th Division to secure, and Thiepval Church and Chateau, visible for miles in every direction, were an obvious target for sighting ordnance and troop advancement. Adjacent to the chateau were several miles of German artillery positions, heavily fortified, which had been christened the Schwaben Redoubt by military commanders. It was hoped the redoubt would be in allied hands by the end of the day.

To cut a long story short, it was not to be. The Canadian/Ulster assault on the ridge - fighting uphill against well fortified and entrenched artillery - turned into a slaughter which, even by Somme standards, was horrific in its extent. Over 5,000 of the 7,000 Ulster Division troops who had participated in the assault lay dead on the slopes of Thiepval Ridge. The Redoubt remained in German hands and held out over several more months of constant bombardment - in which church, chateau and village disappeared from the face of the earth - until in September a second major assault, again with huge loss of life on both sides, eventually achieved its capture.


All that remains of the chateau today

Because of its significance in terms of loss of life, in fighting so fierce that bodies of the fallen could never be recovered even if there was something left to recover, Thiepval was chosen as the location to erect an impressive monument to all allied soldiers missing in action after WWI. However it is also the site of the first war memorial to be officially erected on any Western Front battlefield when the war ended - the rather less bombastic (and all the more poignat for that) "Ulster Tower", paid for through public subscription in Ulster and erected to the memory of its sons whose lives had so wastefully been squandered in a hopeless task on that first day of the Somme offensive.


The Thiepval memorial dedicated to all allied soldiers missing in action in WWI


The Ulster Tower, a near-faithful replica of Helen's Tower in Clandboye near Belfast

The significance of Thiepval Chateau was not lost on the propagandists either. When the ridge finally fell into allied hands they wasted no time in ensuring that it received a visit from the monarch - the result being an image which, due to its quality and colour, helps rescue the time and place from a grainy black and white surreality and remind us that these were actual people enduring actual traumas and ordeals - even the pampered ones.


George V surveys the area from the ruins of Thiepval Chateau
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: The Somme 1916 - then and now photos   Sun 03 Jul 2016, 12:19

PRONI (The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland) have been publishing on a monthly basis "blogs" of contemporary correspondence relating to the First World War and the 36th Division in particular. This month's edition, especially the second letter to the father of a fallen comrade, is heartbreaking stuff. It puts into perspective the terrible price paid for the acquisition of wasteland King George V is gazing out over in the above image.

PRONI - World War One July 1916

4th July ’16
Dear Mr Davidson

It is with the deepest regret and sorrow I start this letter to you, and cannot express in
words what I feel about poor Jim, he always was so good & kind to me. All I can say in
my poor way is that he died as he lived a, grand man, and is forever graded as one of
“Britain’s greatest Heroes”. I am sure you know by now what he did, but I must tell you
in my own words. He went across with the first and although getting casualties in his
team took the German 1st and second lines, with the help of a few men made an
emplacement in the 3dr line and although wounded started to work, one by one his men
fell until he had no one but himself, and did he stop? No!! He worked on with his gun
“single handed” although wounded through the leg. His ammunition ran out did he give
in, those who know Jim well know the answer, No!!!... He took bombs from the men
round him and through them till his strength gave out. Some men carried him to a dug
out in the German front line until the bearers would come for him, ah!!!! There is the
tragedy, the stretches bearers could not come. The ground between our line and theirs
was sweeped with murderous m/c gun and shrapnel fine which made it impossible for
the bearers, ammunitions carriers or messengers to get across many a good life was
sacrificed in trying to do this.

Our men after fighting for hours were beaten back because of shortage of ammunition
and men when this word reached Jim he made his way out of the dugout to try & get
back to rally his men, what a noble heart, - but found he was unable to do anything but
crawl, therefore as no help was coming across he tried to get back himself and while
crossing “Normans land” was shot, I believe through the head & it is believed died
instantly in no pain. Was not it a glorious ending to a glorious life. I am sorry I am
unable to write you a good letter but even yet I am not myself after what I have come
through this last 10 days, and the tears are rolling down the face of your friend and his
friend.

D. Sherdman



The entire blog journal is available here.

The letters from Major General Oliver Nugent to his wife (and one to King George V) are refreshingly candid. He spared neither recipient the details of the horrendous casualties his men endured, his distrust of the intelligence of his commanders in chief, or his absolute hatred of the situation in which they had been placed. I particularly liked his assessment of Belgium (at the time he was still being told that this was the 36th's ultimate objective - we now know this was an intentional lie on the part of his High Command).

The country has the same heavy flat look that Belgium has and I hate it and shall be glad
to be out of it. I simply loathe the thought of Belgium, its dirt, trenches, flies and
inhabitants.


and

The man I loathe is Harry Rawlinson, the Army Commander whose senseless optimism
is responsible for the practical wiping out of the Division. He is the only man too who
has never sent the Division one word of acknowledgement, thanks or praise for what
they did for him.


Worthy of inclusion as a prime example of the "animosity between generals" being discussed at the moment on the eponymous thread.
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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Re: The Somme 1916 - then and now photos   Tue 26 Jul 2016, 15:19

Then and Now youtube:

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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: The Somme 1916 - then and now photos   Tue 26 Jul 2016, 22:36

@Meles meles wrote:
Here are some then-and-now photos from about the time of the 1916 Somme offensive:

The Guardian - Somme, then-and-now photos

or just go to to:

 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/01/the-somme-during-the-first-world-war-and-now-interactive

... as usual with these things you need to have a little patience as it might take some time to load ... but it's worth the wait.

 Meles meles,

starting Wink  with the photo of the market square of Bruges in 1914:

I came on
http://sanderkwartier.brugsebuurten.be/Detijdvantoen/TorhoutseSteenweglanggeleden


And nearly each day I pass along this road sign:

And I always thought that "Thaurouter Steinweg was from the time of the WWII occupation and here it is revealed that it is from WWI.
How we even our occupations keep in esteem... Wink
And from the entry of King Albert in Bruges from 1918 I have still these photo on quarto format. It is intersting because one of our houses that we give for rent is on the picture on the left of the Gistelse steenweg, the street that you look at on the photo, the other street that you can't see is the Torhoutse steenweg...


Tomorrow more about photos of Bruges and WWI and in WWI France...
Bedtime now...have to go up tomorrow at 6 o'clock...

Kind regards from your friend Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: The Somme 1916 - then and now photos   Wed 27 Jul 2016, 19:29

Addendum to the previous message.

Further on Bruges during WWI
And the Germans enter via the Smedenpoort

And a diregeable wrecked near Bruges




And some submarines at Bruges



And some crash landing of a British plane
 

Kind regards, Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: The Somme 1916 - then and now photos   Wed 27 Jul 2016, 19:38

Addendum to the previous message

Real colour photographs (autochrome, procedé Lumière)
from France WWI
http://mashable.com/2015/12/18/wwi-color-photos/#1QLQb6Nt5kqN
http://www.photo-memory.eu/guerre-14-18-lautochrome-donne-des-couleurs-a-la-grande-guerre/


Cordialement, Paul.
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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Re: The Somme 1916 - then and now photos   Thu 28 Jul 2016, 15:20

Anyone else been following the 3-part series on BBC2 about the Somme?

Snippets from the two episodes screened so far;




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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Re: The Somme 1916 - then and now photos   Wed 03 Aug 2016, 13:24

The third and final part was broadcast on Monday night. DVD is released next Monday.

The Somme from both sides of the wire.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: The Somme 1916 - then and now photos   Wed 03 Aug 2016, 20:02

Tri, I am already so accustomed to download it all without paying from internet Wink , but it seems that it will not be for eternity...for some sites you have to subscribe, for others you have more and more to pay...
But nevertheless thanks for mentioning it...you never know that I can ask it as a present...or perhaps that I am at the end inclined to do the offer of my money... Wink

Kind regards from your friend Paul.
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