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VAN STOCKUM: SOMME PART 2: The day nearly 20,000 died

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In World War I, the Battle of the Somme River in France took the lives of one in five members of the British fighting force. One of them was my father. In the last of a series, we look at the battle that unfolded on July 1, 1916 and what went wrong.

By Ron Van Stockum

On June 24, 1916, a tremendous and sustained artillery bombardment by the allied armies of Britain and France commenced the Battle of the Somme, the pivotal conflict in World War I, where 19,240 died on the first day, including my birth father, Reginald Bareham, a member of the 11th Suffolks. This barrage on the German army foretold not only the unfolding of that battle but a sequence of events that changed both the world and many lives forever.


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