The First Day on the Somme: 1 July 1916

Front Cover
Penguin UK, Jun 29, 2006 - History - 384 pages

The soldiers receive the best service a historian can provide: their story is told in their own words - Guardian

'For some reason nothing seemed to happen to us at first; we strolled along as though walking in a park. Then, suddenly, we were in the midst of a storm of machine-gun bullets and I saw men beginning to twirl round and fall in all kinds of curious ways'

On 1 July 1916, a continous line of British soldiers climbed out from the trenches of the Somme into No Man's Land and began to walk towards dug-in German troops armed with machine-guns. By the end of the day there were more than 60,000 British casualties - a third of them fatal.

Martin Middlebrook's now-classic account of the blackest day in the history of the British army draws on official sources from the time, and on the words of hundreds of survivors: normal men, many of them volunteers, who found themselves thrown into a scene of unparalleled tragedy and horror.


What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Whiskey3pa - LibraryThing

Excellent book. Well written and full of first person accounts. The courage of the troops was remarkable and the mediocrity of the leadership sad. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gommecourt - LibraryThing

Middlebrook's seminal work on the first day of the battle of the Somme. Based on his own interviews with dozens of survivors of the fighting it is informative, emotional, gripping, exhausting and an ... Read full review


List of Maps
List of Plates
The Western Front
The Somme and the Germans
The Morning
Review at Noon
The Afternoon
Review at Dusk
The Night
The Aftermath
The Cost
An Analysis

The Plan
The Preparations
The Last Few Hours
Zero Hour
Review at 8 30 A M
The Years that Followed
Order of Battle of British Infantry Units
Order of Battle of German Divisions Facing the British Attack
Senior Officer Casualties

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

Martin Middlebrook is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the author of many important books on military history including THE KAISER'S BATTLE - MARCH 1918 , THE FALKLANDS WAR - 1982.

Bibliographic information