So many died

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This year marks 100 years since the beginning of the first Battle of the Somme.

A battle that has been stamped forever in our minds as an example of the futility of war and the huge cost in blood and lives.

We do not need to talk too much about the devastation levied on man and country.

We all realise the cost to a generation on both sides of the front lines.

As our massive losses were matched by the opposite side, they also had their loved ones taken away from them.

At this time we need to remember our relatives, and in particular not to forget the long history and service from our own local regiment The Green Howards.

The 7th (S) Battalion of the regiment was raised at Richmond in September 1914, as part of the second batch of Kitchener’s Volunteers (K2) and attached to 50th Brigade, 17th (Northern) Division.

Like so many of Kitchener’s Volunteers, the Battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916, was to be their first major action.

At 2.30pm, and exactly to plan, the remainder of the battalion got out of its trenches and advanced towards the village.

Within three minutes more than 300 of them were casualties as they were mown down and brought to a standstill.

They had not even managed to get across No Man’s Land.

In September, the 4th and 5th Battalion was committed to the battle before achieving its objectives to then be withdrawn under heavy artillery fire.

We have a debt that can never be repaid.

Major C Gallacher, TD VR,

Normanby Road,

Middlesbrough.