The Battle of the Somme, which lasted from 1 July to 18 November 1916, is remembered as one of the most horrific and tragic battles of the First World War. On the first day alone nearly 19,000 British troops were killed - the greatest one-day loss in the history of the British Army. By November the death toll from the armies of Britain, France and Germany had risen to over a million. This book tells the stories of fifty-one soldiers from the Commonwealth and Empire armies whose bravery on the battlefield was rewarded by the Victoria Cross, the highest military hour - men like Private Billy McFadzean, who was blown up by two grenades which he smothered in order to save the lives of his comrades, and Private 'Todger' Jones, who single-handedly rounded up 102 German soldiers. Not only do we learn of heroic endeavours of these men at the height of battle, but we also read of their lives before 1914, ranging from the backstreets of Glasgow to a country house in Cheshire, and of what life was like after the war for the thirty-three survivors.
GERALD GLIDDON is a leading authority on First World War history and his Somme 1916 has become an indispensable reference guide for anyone wanting to understand this theatre of warfare. He has written extensively on this period, including: VCs of 1914, The Final Days 1918 and VCs Handbook: The Western Front 1914-1918. He has also recently written a study of Lutyens' war memorials. He lives in Norfolk.