Today July 1st is the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme , the bloodiest day in British Military history when almost 20,000 British soldiers died in one day .
This battle came about after 18 months of deadlock in the trenches on the Western Front, the Allies needed to achieve a decisive victory. In 1915, a plan was finalised for a joint British and French offensive the following year. However, the German attack against the French at Verdun meant that the British were left to take the lead.
The plan for the Somme was devised by Sir Douglas Haig and Sir Henry Rawlinson . Many of the infantry who went over the top were volunteers of 1914, including Pals battalions made up of friends, relatives and workmates serving side by side.
This was their first experience of a major action in the largest attack the British Army had yet conducted but the Generals plan was flawed in a number of ways and unravelled almost as soon as the British troops started to advance resulting in massive loss of life .
From the Cleator Moor Roll of Honour we remember the men from our Town who fought and died on that day . They were (click on name to go to that soldiers record in our WW1 database)
The Battle of the Somme raged on for over 4 months as the British Empires army were held by stubborn German resistance for little gain.
By the end of this battle in November 1916 there were over 1,000,000 casualties, and over 300,000 men were killed or declared missing .
With over 50 men from Cleator Moor laying down their lives on the Somme battlefields.
The huge casualties suffered during the Battle of the Somme played a significant part in earning Haig the nickname 'The Butcher
However the sacrifice and the suffering of those men especially from the Moor must never be forgotten .
Photo The 103rd (Tyneside Irish) Brigade advance towards La Boisselle, 1 July 1916