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Season Premiere

BBC Documentaries: Season 1976

1976x01 The Battle of the Somme

  • 1976-06-29T20:00:00Z on BBC
  • 60 mins
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • Documentary, Special Interest

A special 60th anniversary programme in which
Leo McKern walks the fields of Picardy and retells the story of this heroic and tragic battle. With the letters, diaries, and memories of men who took part.

1 July 1916 - the first day of the Battle of the Somme -was the worst day in British military history. In less than 24 hours 60,000 British soldiers became casualties; and nearly 20,000 of them died. The battle dragged on for another four-and-a-half months. It turned a gracious part of northern France into a landscape like the moon's. It produced anger and cynicism, but also incredible gallantry and courage. During it 1,200,000 British, French and Germans were killed or wounded. By the end of it the armies of Britain and her Empire had advanced about seven miles.