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happy? - July 1 (Battle of the Somme)

Abby Sale 01 Jul 05 - 10:03 AM
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Subject: happy? - July 1
From: Abby Sale
Date: 01 Jul 05 - 10:03 AM

The battle of the Somme went ahead with tremendous loss of life because no one was prepared to disturb Haig's breakfast and tell him that the bombardment had failed to destroy the barbed wire. Some 100,000 died.

        If you want to see the Privates, I know where they are,
        I know where they are, I know where they are,
        If you want to see the Privates, I know where they are,
        They're dangling on the old barbed wire.
        I saw them, I saw them, dangling on the old barbed wire,
        I saw them, dangling on the old barbed wire.

                "I'll Tell You Where They Are," [thanx J.J.Farrell et al]

July 1st, 1916: Clear sky. Very hazy but the mist lifted at 7.30 a.m. when the Allied attack began. The offensive was a combined Franco-British one on a 25-mile front both north and south of the Somme. The British captured Montauban and Mametz. The French attacked towards Peronne and reached the outskirts of Hardecourt and Curlu. To the north-west of the Albert-Bapaume road the British made little progress against the German defences except for a small gain at the Leipzig Redoubt to the south of Thiepval. They had failed at Gommecourt, Serre, Beaumont Hamel, Thiepval and la Boisselle. Casualties were in the vicinity of 57,000, the highest casualty figure that the British Army ever suffered. There were nine VC awards that stemmed from the day's fighting.

        From Battle of the Somme: Chronology, based on General Rawlinson's diary.

Copyright © 2005, Abby Sale - all rights reserved
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PS: In one of those sit-up coincidences that happen now and then -- The above was written some time back and planned for today. I sang the song at our local club last Sunday and it had the effect I intended but didn't really expext. There are dozens of versions and maybe hundreds of verse variations but the text as I sing it is from the singing of the fine John Roberts. As of today John is having a bit of heart surgery and had damn well better sisoma. He has a lot of living & singing yet to do.

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