Rare images of Battle of the Somme released to mark centenary

June 27, 2016

Men of the 8th Battalion Border Regiment resting in shallow dugouts in a captured German trench near Thiepval Wood, in a photograph taken around 3 July 1916 © IWM

Q_000739.webWounded men of the 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers being tended in a trench in the 29th Division’s area near Beaumont Hamel on the morning of the initial assault © IWM

Q_004150.webRAMC troops carrying wounded soldiers on to a hospital barge at Vaux-sur-Somme on 25 August 1916 © IWM

CO_000202.webWounded British soldiers at a dressing station set up in the churchyard at Morlancourt, a village well behind the British lines located south of Albert © IWM

Q_003990.webSoldiers of A Company, 11th Battalion Cheshire Regiment, occupy a captured German trench at Ovillers-la-Boisselle on the Somme © IWM

The images are published in a new book called The Somme: A Visual History, by Anthony Richards who is head of Documents and Sound at the Imperial War Museums.

As the book’s publisher, the Imperial War Museums said: ‘Rarely seen photographs captured by the official war photographers at the front, vivid wartime posters and artworks showing the horrors and sheer scale of the battle are woven throughout the narrative of the book, illustrating it with the faces and images of the time.’

The book also relays the first-hand experiences of those who took part in the battle, plucked from private diaries, personal letters and interviews.

CO_000766.webA Canadian gunner writes messages with chalk on 15-inch howitzer shells, September 1916 © IWM

Q_002980.webA horse-drawn limber takes ammunition to the forward guns along the Lesboeufs Road, outside Flers, in November 1916 during the final stages of the Somme offensive © IWM

Taylor Downing, a historian, said: ‘This is a unique account of Britain’s most famous battle. The book is full of the most brilliant images, including many little known photos but also much artwork, engravings and posters of the time.’

Q_005794.webA typical congested road at Fricourt in October 1916 © IWM

The Somme: A Visual History is published by Imperial War Museums, priced £14.99,

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