Twenty thousand dead on one summer’s day

“The Somme—or rather the first day of the battle—lingers in memory as an intensely sad affair, a monumental loss of innocence not only for the British Army, but for Britain itself, and the world. Those tragic, cheering ranks of ‘Pal’ and ‘Chums’ battalions hurled into eternity with the fluid sweep of the machine gun cannot be forgotten. Entire firms, neighborhoods, and villages had suddenly lost all their young men. At the time, the impact of this was profound, especially as loved ones compared the immensely long casualty lists with official pap. A whole generation had been extinguished, an immense loss that is still felt today, and lies like a black dream deep within the psyche of the British nation.” – O’Brien Browne, “A Sunlit Picture of Hell”

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