3.6 What happened at the Somme?
At 7:30am on 1 July 1916, the British Army began an attack on the German trenches that were positioned near the River Somme in France. The subsequent battle lasted for 140 days, and is now known as the Battle of the Somme. The films on this page show scenes from this battle, and its aftermath.
BRITISH TOMMIES ON THE SOMME, 1916
1 MINS 18 SECS, SILENT, B/W
This film shows British troops on the Somme.
QUEEN HONOURS SOMME HEROES
2 MINS 17 SECS, SOUND, B/W, 1966
In Belfast, Northern Ireland, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip unveil a memorial plaque commemorating the soldiers who fought in the Battle of the Somme in a ceremony marking its 50th anniversary. The royals talk with veterans such as James Duffy VC of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. This film also shows the commemorations in Thiepval, France, and archive film footage from the First World War.
___________________________________________________________________________________ON THE SOMME
0 MINS 47 SECS, SILENT, B/W, 1914-1918
This film shows the village of Deniecourt, France, in ruins, devastated by war.
___________________________________________________________________________________A PICTURE THAT WILL BE HISTORIC
0 MINS 37 SECS, SILENT, B/W, 1916
The Allies launch the Battle of the Somme. This, filmed on 1 July 1916 in France, shows French troops passing the battered but magnificent Chateau de Vaux - 'a picture that will be historic', according to the title of the film. It had been captured by the Germans in June 1916 during the Battle of Verdun and was retaken by the Allies.
0 MINS 39 SECS, SILENT, B/W, 1916
This film from July 1916 shows some of the many Germans captured by the Allies since the start of the Battle of the Somme. It records German prisoners working on the land under French supervision. The title of the film, Willing Captives, must be treated with a degree of scepticism.