Battle of the Somme Student Materials_1 (1)-1.pdf -...

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STANFORD HISTORY EDUCATION GROUP sheg.stanford.edu Document A: The Daily Express The Daily Express is an English newspaper founded in 1900. Like other English newspapers, it printed daily news and stories on the war. Here is an excerpt written by reporter John D. Irvine describing the first day of the Battle of the Somme. It was published on July 3, 1916. The great day of battle broke in sunshine and mist. Not a cloud obscured the sky as the sun appeared above the horizon – in the direction where the German trenches lay. . . . I witnessed the last phase of the bombardment, which preceded the advance. It was six o’clock (summer time) when we arrived there. The guns had been roaring furiously all through the night. Now they had, so to speak, gathered themselves together for one grand final effort before our British lions should be let loose on their prey. . . . A perceptible slackening of our fire soon after seven was the first indication given to us that our gallant soldiers were about to leap from their trenches and advance against the enemy. Non-combatants [like myself], of course, were not permitted to witness this spectacle, but I am informed that the vigor and eagerness of the first assault were worthy of the best traditions of the British Army. I have myself heard within the past few days men declare that they were getting fed up with the life in the trenches, and would welcome a fight at close quarters. . . .

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