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Event to mark 100th anniversary of Battle of the Somme

It was the deadliest battle in British history. The Battle of the Somme claimed the lives of 130,000 British and Empire troops during five months of fighting in World War One.

A commemorative event to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme has been held at a military cemetery in Kent. It was organised with the help of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission which works to ensure the people who died in the war will never be forgotten. Iain McBride reports.

  1. Derek Johnson

Somme 100: China's forgotten army

On Friday, July 1 we mark 100 years since The Somme - one of the deadliest battles in British history.

Like the rest of the war it could not have been fought without troops from India, the West Indies and other Empire countries.

But a crucial role was played in the Great War by other men from overseas who came together because so many British soldiers were killed at The Somme - the Chinese Labour Corps.

We speak to Steve Lau from the Ensuring We Remember campaign and to Wenlan Peng from the Meridian Society.

The Meridian Society promotes Chinese culture with the aim of fostering better understanding between people of Chinese origin and those from other ethnic backgrounds, both in the UK and worldwide.


  1. Derek Johnson

Somme 100: Crater of war, symbol of peace

They called it The Big Push.

The Somme in 1916 was designed to be a decisive breakthrough in the First World War but was instead a costly failure.

On Friday July 1 we mark 100 years since the start of the battle. It began after a series of mines were detonated, the signal for soldiers to go over the top.

One of the explosions left a huge crater which a century on has become the focus of remembrance and reflection.

We speak to: Lochnagar Crater owner Richard Dunning and historian Alex Churchill, author of Somme: 141 Days, 141 Lives. Also to Michael Fellows and Richard Frankish, whose fathers fought on The Somme.

  1. Derek Johnson

Somme 100 - The British Army's darkest day

Preparations are underway to mark 100 years since The Somme - one of the deadliest battles in British history.

Relatives, politicians and members of the Royal Family will attend a series of commemorative events in France next week remembering the more than one million men on both sides who were killed or wounded.

The battle, which began on on July 1 1916, was an attempt to break the deadlock during the First World War when soldiers were dug into miles of trenches and ditches.

We speak to: Betty Foster, who was visiting her uncle's grave on The Somme; Alex Churchill, author of 'Somme: 141 days, 141 lives' - and Phil Betts of the Frittenden Historical Society.

Full report: The Somme anniversary, 97 years on

On this day, in 1916, thousands of soldiers fell during the first day of The Somme, one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War.

Ninety seven years on - and people have been remembering those who died. Also today, two historians from the South began a unique project to learn more about the battlefields. Watch Derek Johnson's report.


The South's historians mark Somme anniversary

Historians from the South are in France to unveil plans to map a 12 kilometre section of the Somme battlefield.

The Battle of The Somme led to more than 400,000 British casualties Credit: ITV Meridian

Today marks 97 years since the four-month offensive began in 1916.

It claimed more than 400,000 British casualties but only moved the line forward by a few miles.

Andy Robertshaw from Surrey and Steve Robertson from Kent are launching Project Beaumont-Hamel which plans to build up a comprehensive web database about one section of the battlefield.

It will draw on written sources but also involve archaeological digs.

The day before The Somme, more than 350 Sussex soldiers were killed in a diversionary attack meant to fool the enemy over the date of the real offensive.

The Battle of Boars Head also became known as The Day Sussex Died.