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The Sunlit Picture of Hell

Posted by Hugh Anderson on

Poppies on the fields of flanders, remembrance

Siegfried Sassoon described it as “Sunlit picture of hell.”

THE SOMME

On 6th July at 07.30hrs the whistles blew up and down the English lines. Soldiers clambered over the tops of their trenches and walked towards the German lines laughing and joking. Many of these young men had grown up together, they were brothers, workmates and close friends having come from the same towns and regions. These were the Pals Battalions and what happened next is one of the largest losses of life in warfare.
120,000 Allied troops from India, Australia, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, and United Kingdom took part in this offensive, whose aim was to win the war. Within the first hour 20,000 were dead and another 37,640 wounded, one man killed every 4.4 seconds.

Battle of the Somme and Highland Regiment

On 18th November, this great offensive ended. There had been 90 successive attacks with 5 miles gained, against 300,000 deaths and 1 million casualties between the sides. Generations were lost and entire communities were devasted.
 “It was 1916 on the 1st of July
That artillery and smoke blackened the sky.
Shots rang out and men fell dead,
It was 1916 on the 1st of July
That artillery and smoke blackened the sky.
Shots rang out and men fell dead,
The sky was black, while the ground was red.
To battle the Germans the French and British had come,
To the bloodiest fight of the War, The Battle of the Somme”
 ‘Piotr Sommer’

 

REMEMBRANCE AND POPPIES

The Great War devasted large swathes of Western Europe with woods, forests and farming land torn apart. In 1915 after a warm spring the landscape came alive with bright red flowers. This phenomenon was captured by a poet called John McCrae; “In Flanders Field.” This poem was for those fallen soldiers lying beneath the fields of red swaying poppies.

It was only in 1921 that poppies were used in remembrance. Today they are used to remember those who have fallen in conflict not just the Great War.

I hope that our generation and those of our children never have to suffer what happened during this era. Whilst we find ourselves in the middle of a pandemic, it is humbling to remember those that fell in the prime of their life without loved ones around them and far from home.

Remembrance 11th November

We will remember them and the family and friends who have been lost since.


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