On the 1st July 2016 we will be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. Two websites, www.somme2016.org and www.somme-battlefields.com, have been officially chosen to provide all the information needed for visiting the Somme Battlefields in 2016.
The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and unveiled in 1932, is one of the main focal points for remembrance in the Somme. Every year on the 1st July, a commemorative service is held here in remembrance of the men who fought and died during the Battle of the Somme, but in 2016 the British and French Governments will host a significantly larger event. This battle was one of the worst of the whole war; on the first day alone – the 1st July 1916 – the British Army lost 60,000 men, of whom 20,000 were killed.
The Thiepval Service of Remembrance in 2016
For the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, 10,000 people are expected to attend this moving ceremony. Many dignitaries will also be in attendance, including heads of state and senior members of the royal family. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport are organising next year’s service and more information on this event can be found on the Somme2016 website, which will be regularly updated with information.
The French Government is leading on distribution of tickets for residents of France, and those interesting in attending can register their interest by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The service at the Lochnagar Crater
Richard Dunning and the Friends of Lochnagar organise a poignant ceremony at the Lochnagar Crater each year. For the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, the numbers of places to this service must also be restricted to 5000. This is due to the limited space available at the crater and for safety reasons.
Please click here for more information or visit the Lochnagar Crater website.
A site of reference for 2016
www.somme-battlefields.com and its French equivalent www.somme14-18.com are the officially chosen sites of reference to provide a whole array of information to visitors and inhabitants of the Somme. From information about the commemorations, exhibitions and cultural events organized in the context of the commemorations, to tourism information, news and practicalities – everything you need to know will be available here!
Preparations for the commemorations of 2016 are underway
On the 2nd July 2015, the Mission Nationale Centenaire 14-18 held a meeting in Amiens, where many local and international structures and authorities met to discuss the 2016 commemorations.
The Somme Departmental Council will, of course, be greatly involved in these events, working alongside other local authorities and national and international partners such as the Department for Culture, Media and Sports, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and The Royal British Legion.
Some of the Council’s main projects include the extension that is being built at the Thiepval Visitor Centre, the continuing renovation of the Historial, Museum of the Great War in Péronne and the distribution of the 3rd edition of the educational booklet entitled The Somme in the First World War, which is given out to the high school children of the Somme.
A whole host of shows, exhibitions, talks, artistic creations and other events will also be held throughout this important year!