The First Day on the Somme (book)

The First Day on the Somme (book)

"The First Day on the Somme" (ISBN 0-14-139071-9) is a First World War military history book by Martin Middlebrook, published in 1971. Martin Middlebrook covers in detail the events leading up to and during 1 July, 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Middlebrook deals almost entirely with the British Army units and gives little attention to the French contribution, especially south of the Somme River.

Early chapters deal with the formation of Kitchener's Army (New Army), for which 1 July was the first major battle, and the origins and planning of the Somme offensive. The coverage of the fighting is divided by time of day, starting with the hours leading up to "zero", followed by "zero hour", the morning, afternoon and night, with review chapters between each to sum up the fighting. The book concludes with the aftermath of the first day and a calculation of the cost of the fighting. The British casualty figures compiled by Middlebrook are often quoted as the definitive tally for 1 July.

Throughout the book Middlebrook uses quotations from soldiers involved in the fighting on the day. He selected ten men whose story he follows through the day. These men present a cross-section of the British Army of 1916 — regular, New Army and Territorial Force — and include privates, non-commissioned officers, lieutenants and a battalion commander (lieutenant colonel). One of the men, Private Billy McFadzean, is posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

See also

*First day on the Somme
*"The Kaiser's Battle"

External links

* [ A letter from Middlebrook describing the writing of "The First Day on the Somme"]

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