Battle of the Somme Talk by Herb Farrant

Caterpillar Cemeter Battle of the Somme

Our next event is on July 7th when Herb Farrant of the N Z Military Historical Society will talk on the Battle of the Somme on the Western Front in France, which occurred 100 years ago from July-November 1916.

When: Thursday 7th July 2016 at 6.30pm

Where: Remuera Library, Remuera Rd.

It was on the Somme that the majority of New Zealanders were killed or wounded during the First World War. And it was here that New Zealand experienced its worst days in military history in terms of loss of life. The Battle of the Somme was New Zealand’s first major engagement on the Western Front. It took a huge toll on the 15,000 members of the New Zealand Division who were involved. Roughly one in seven of the division who fought on the Somme was killed, and about four in every 10 were wounded. Thirty plus men from Remuera were killed at the Battle of the Somme.

“A truly nightmarish world greeted the New Zealand Division when it joined the Battle of the Somme in mid-September 1916. The division was part of the third big push of the offensive, designed to crack the German lines once and for all. When it was withdrawn from the line a month later, the decisive breakthrough had still not occurred.

Fifteen thousand members of the division went into action. Nearly 6000 men were wounded and 2000 lost their lives. More than half the New Zealand Somme dead have no known grave. They are commemorated on the New Zealand Memorial to the Missing in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, near Longueval. One of these men returned home to New Zealand in November 2004; his remains lie in the tomb of the Unknown Warrior outside New Zealand’s National War Memorial.”