Remembering the heroes of the Battle of the Somme

At 7:30 AM on Saturday 1 July 1916, British troops clambered from their trenches to advance across no man's land towards the German lines.

But the attack was largely a disaster.

In just a few hours, 19,240 British troops were killed out of a total of 57, 470 casualties, making it the bloodiest day in British military history.

Thousands of soldiers from the North West died on the Somme and all this week, we'll have a series of special features to mark the event on Friday.

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Somme memorial services underway in France

The Battle of the Somme memorial service began at Lochnagar Crater, France. Credit: PA

Services are underway in Lochnegar to commemorate the battle of the Somme which began 100 years ago.

The area is well-known for a 300ft crater formed by an allied explosion during the battle.

Allied soldiers detonated a huge bomb underneath the German trenches in Lochnagar. Credit: Pool

Lochnagar Crater is now a peace memorial dedicated to "fellowship and reconciliation" between all nations who fought on the Western Front.

Pastor John Pressdee said: "Help us remember our common humanity, and as we celebrate the young lives who died in the pursuit of peace, help us to apply the lessons and to learn the lessons of history so that we would never have to travel that road again."

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Brother and sister's emotional visit to the Somme

A brother and sister from the Isle of Man have made an emotional trip to France to remember relatives who fought at the Somme.

Speaking before they left Linda Stricket and David Brew said they felt humble to be making the journey.

Wreaths laid at the Accrington Pals memorial in France

Wreaths laid for the Accrington Pals Credit: Phil Gornall

Wreaths have been laid at the Accrington Pals memorial in the French village of Serre ahead of today's Battle of the Somme commemorations.

Wreaths laid for the Accrington Pals Credit: Phil Gornall

At 7.28am the nation will fall silent to mark the moments prior to 7.30am - the time the "Tommies" and the French launched the attack on German lines and one of the bloodiest battles in British military history began - before a day of commemorative events to honour the fallen begins.

Preparations for Battle of the Somme reenactment in France Credit: Phil Gornall

Thousands of soldiers were killed in the first few minutes and than one million soldiers were killed, missing, or wounded on both sides by the time it ended on the 18th of November 1916.

Poppies grow where thousands of North West soldiers were killed on Somme battlefield

Poppies grow on the Somme battlefield where tomorrow marks the hundredth anniverary of the deaths of thousands of North West soldiers.

In just a few hours, 19,240 British troops were killed out of a total of 57, 470 casualties, making it the bloodiest day in British military history.

Poppies growing on the Somme battlefield near Serre Credit: ITV Phil Gornall

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Battle of the Somme: A tunnel to tragedy

Tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. At 7.30 on the morning of the 1st of July 1916 over just a few hours almost 58,000 British troops were killed, wounded or missing. Many were from the North West.

Paul Crone takes a look at the story of seven men tunnelling into no-mans land which ended in tragedy.

  1. Paul Crone, ITV News

The North West heroes of the Battle of the Somme

The Centenary of the Battle of the Somme. Credit: ITV News.

As the nation prepares to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battle of the Somme, we have a series of special reports on Granada Reports.

Today we're featuring the story of two soldiers from the north west who survived - for very different reasons.

Here's Paul Crone:

  • Click here for more information about the Somme commemorations

Watch the third of Paul Crone's reports as the North West prepares to remember the Somme

As the nation prepares to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme in Manchester this Friday, we have a series of special reports on Granada Reports. Tonight we're featuring the story of two soliders from the North West who survived - for very different reasons.

You can find our more about the Somme commemorations by clicking here

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