On just one summer’s day in July, 1916, nearly 20,000 British troops lost their lives. The opening day of the infamous Battle of the Somme, which was the start of General Sir Douglas Haig’s ‘big push’ to try and break through German lines, remains to this day one of the bloodiest days in the history of the British Army.
With the centenary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme (1st July, 1916) due this week, the National Archives (TNA) at Kew has announced a number of tie-in events for July and August, including two special sessions in their popular ‘Hands on History’ series.
Not many people realise that, on 1st July 1916, British forces led a diversionary attack on the Gommecourt Salient in northern France. The session will enable the audience to hear about the objectives and outcomes of this diversionary attack, while also viewing some original maps and war diaries from the time.
The event will take place at TNA on Tuesday, 12th July, 2016, at 14.00-16.00 BST.
The second of the Hands on History special sessions is entitled ‘Cinema in the First World War’. Cinema as an art form was in its infancy in the Great War. But the medium was forced to grow rapidly during the course of the War because of time and circumstance, and it became, in many ways, a key source of both information and entertainment for the British public.
The session will look at the development of cinematic technologies, the impact of film on both the home and fighting fronts, and the profound effect the War exerted on cinema after the fighting stopped in 1918, and then throughout the 1920s.
The event will take place at TNA on Wednesday, 24th August, 2016, at 14.00-16.00 BST.
The National Archives (TNA), which is open to the public as well as academics and students, contains the archives of the British State and numerous other historical documents, plus extensive family history records. There is also a TNA restaurant, bookshop and open-access library.
TNA is located near Richmond, at Kew, Surrey, TW9-4DU (the nearest tube station is Kew Gardens).
For further information about the various First World War events scheduled at TNA in July and August, go to: