969.48.53 | Battlefield of the Somme

Battlefield of the Somme
About 1915, 20th century
14.5 x 12.2 cm
This artefact belongs to : © Guelph Museums
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Keys to History

The Battle of the Somme (France) was a successful but costly battle for the Allied forces (which included at the time the United Kingdom, France, Serbia, Canada, New Zealand, Union of South Africa, Russia, Belgium, Australia, India, Rhodesia, Italy, Romania, Montenegro, Portugal and Japan). On June 30, 1916, at Number 3 Canadian General Hospital, all patients who could survive the journey were sent to England, while the hospital staff stood ready to deal with further casualties.

This was the bloodiest day of the War for the British, and the day that the courageous First Newfoundland Regiment of nearly 700 men was nearly annihilated.

John McCrae and the rest of the hospital staff treated nearly 4,600 men in the first two weeks of the battle as they strained to meet the demand.

  • What

    The terrifying reality of war is captured here, with soldiers lying dead, trees reduced to stumps and smoke still hanging in the air.

  • Where

    This photo was taken on a battlefield in northern France near the Somme River.

  • When

    The Battle of the Somme began July 1, 1916 and lasted until November 13.

  • Who

    British General Sir Douglas Haig (1861-1928) was responsible for the Allied strategies.