100 years since the Battle of the Somme
100 years ago, men from every continent confronted each other for 141 days during a terrible battle, known as the Battle of the Somme. The conflict, which began on 1 July 1916, was carnage from day one: 60,000 men were killed or wounded in the first 24 hours. On this part of the front alone, the confrontation was to kill 400,000 and wound 800,000 between July and November 1916.
This battle took the heaviest toll on France’s British and Irish allies.
The Battle of the Somme is to Britain and Ireland’s collective memory what the Battle of Verdun is to France: a symbol of the horror of war, the absurdity of a self-destructing Europe and the bravery of the soldiers.
For 141 days, an exceptional commemorative season has been organized, with the high point being the ceremonies organized on Friday 1 July. The main event will be held at Thiepval Memorial To The Missing on the Somme in Northern France.
The ceremony will be attended by President François Hollande, President Michael D Higgins and Mrs Sabina Higgins, Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys TD.
20,000 people are expected to attend the various ceremonies in France throughout the day.
The state services are mobilized to a very large extent to ensure the security of these events.