“In what context was the offensive conceived? What happened on the field that day? What factors contributed to this human catastrophe? Were errors made which could have been avoided? These are the questions that this book tries to answer, narrated very often in the present tense to better enable us to experience the main stages of the battle – from tactical preparations to combat, including the state of mind of the troops and their commanders.” La Marseillaise
On 1st July 1916, the Bay of Somme was the scene of the deadliest day in British military history. What happened there?
Englishmen, Scotsmen, Irishmen, Welshmen, Canadians, South Africans, Australians, New Zealanders – many soldiers from Great Britain and the Commonwealth volunteered in 1916 to attack on the front in Picardy, a much heavier involvement than in the previous years of the First World War. On that day more than 20,000 of them lost their lives on the battlefield, coming to the aid of a French army exhausted by Verdun.
Written in direct, vivid prose, Jean-Michel Steg gives this episode its central place in the memory of the Great War, and attempts to make sense of the tragedy and horror of the event. Drawing on many moving first-hand accounts – including those of celebrated poets Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves – These Englishmen Who Died for France dives into a detailed, exhilarating, harrowing account of the experiences of British soldiers as they unfolded on the front that day in July.