Thursday 11 August 2016

Day Forty Two on the Somme

Friday 11th August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

With the prospect of the 8th Battalion coming into action at some point in this battle it seems a good time to review losses amongst our men in the field. I have been able to get no clear figures on numbers wounded but I have the figures for those killed in action or died of wounds since 1st July, which are as follows:

  • 1st Battalion: 124
  • 2nd Battalion: 152
  • 6th Battalion:  164
  • 7th Battalion: 121
Horribly high these figures are, but must be set against a context of over 100,000 British and Commonwealth casualties, dead and wounded. It is to my regret that the unit which has suffered most, 6th Battalion, has figured so little in these despatches but the commanding officer and adjutant seem reluctant to speak to the press(1)

Sources: X550/2/5; X550/3/wd; X550/7/1; X550/8/1

(1) War diaries differed greatly in detail from unit to unit. Those for 2nd and 7th Battalions are superb, full of detail, that for 1st Battalion is very good. The war diary for the 1st/5th, 6th and 8th Battalions are poor, lacking much in the way of detail whilst that for 4th Battalion, in perhaps the most interesting formation of the war, the Royal Naval Division, is very poor indeed.

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