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Somme Battle Stories

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By: (1872-1951)

Stories of World War I warfare, published in 1916 in the midst of the war. (That's why names of persons and units are literally "blanked" out.) Alec John Dawson (1872 - 1951), generally known as A. J. Dawson (pseudonyms Major Dawson, Howard Kerr, Nicholas Freydon) was an English author, traveller and novelist. During World War I he attained the rank of Major, and was awarded the MBE and Croix de Guerre in recognition of his work as a military propagandist, a work the listener may want to keep in mind. (Terminology note: "Boche" means the Germans, singular or plural; "Blighty" means hospitalization in England; "The Push" means fighting in the Somme offensive.)

The Battle of the Somme (French: Bataille de la Somme, German: Schlacht an der Somme), also known as the Somme Offensive, was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies of the British and French empires against the German Empire. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on either side of the River Somme in France. The battle was one of the largest of World War I, in which more than 1,000,000 men were wounded or killed, making it one of humanity's bloodiest battles.... 1 July 1916 was also the worst day in the history of British Army, which had c. 60,000 casualties,... The British Army on the Somme was a mixture of the remains of the pre-war regular army, Territorial Force and the Kitchener Army which was composed of Pals battalions, recruited from the same places and occupations, whose losses had a profound social impact in Britain.... The Battle of the Somme has been called the beginning of modern all-arms warfare, during which Kitchener's Army learned to fight the mass-industrial war, which the continental armies had been engaged in for two years. This view sees the British contribution to the battle as part of a coalition war and part of a process, which took the strategic initiative from the German Army and caused it irreparable damage, leading to its collapse in late 1918. (Wikipedia, Battle Of The Somme) ( Wikipedia and david wales)


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