WW1 planes take off on flight to mark the battle of the Somme

The aircraft leave Stow Maries Credit: David Davies

Two World War One replica aircraft today took off from an airfield in Essex and headed for France.

They are marking the 100th anniversary of one of the bloodiest 20th century battle fought by the British Army at the Somme.

After just five months more than 300,000 Allied and German soldiers had been killed in the Battle of The Somme.

The Bleriot Credit: David Davies
The Albatross Credit: David Davies

A Bleriot Experimental 2 - as used for reconnaissance and against the German Zeppelin menace - and an Albatros DVA - left Britain's only surviving WW1 airfield at Stow Maries and headed for France. They represent the type pf aircraft flown over the battlefield by both sides.

Both aircraft belong to "Lord of the Rings" film director Peter Jackson who has a huge collection of warbirds in his native New Zealand.

During the conflict 782 aircraft were lost and 586 aircrew killed in combat.

Watch Liz Summers' report: