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  • Christina Drummond

The Battle of the Somme - the first day

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1916, being the first day of the battle of the Somme, the British lost 19,240 men. The youngest British soldier to die was Albert Barker of the East Yorkshire Regiment, aged 16. The oldest was Lieutenant Henry Webber of the South Lancashire Regiment, aged 68. Private Tommy Chambers from Co. Tyrone, 36th Ulster Division, who died that day aged 17, kept a diary and you can read about it here:

The six men pictured were among the many thousands who lost their lives that day – only Lance Corporal Fethney was ever found, the others remain missing.

Top Row:

Lieutenant James Rhodes Akam, 18th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment – 23 years old, from Bradford. You can read about him here:

Lance Corporal Harry Fethney, 16th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment –19 years old, from Manningham in Yorkshire.

Lieutenant James Morrison Low, 2nd Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders attached to Machine Gun Corps – 24 years old, from Kilmaron Castle, Cupar, Fife. A friend of his wrote: “James, O valiant heart, who to your glory came, your memory hallowed in the land you loved.”

Bottom row:

Private Arnold Palliser, C Company, 15th (Leeds Pals) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment – 21 years old, from Wharfedale in Yorkshire.

Private Alexander Niven, B Company, 16th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry – 25 years old, from Dumfries in Scotland.

Private Charles Higgins, 12th Platoon, C Company, 17th Battalion, Manchester Regiment – 20 years old, from Eccles, Manchester.

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