See Somme Battlefields As They Are Today

By Londonist Staff Last edited 18 months ago
See Somme Battlefields As They Are Today

The City of London suffered huge loss of life at the Battle of the Somme, which started on 1 July 1916, and is regarded as the day that changed British history.

Lochnagar Crater. This mine was dug by 185th and 179 Tunnelling Coy and used two charges totalling 60,000 lb of ammonal. It was blown on 1 July 1916 and originally was 300ft in diameter and 90ft deep. The initial attack failed as the Germans got to the crater rim first and it was not until the third that the 10th Worcesters took the crater losing 30% of its men in the assault.

Now, an exhibition of evocative photographs by Michael St Maur Sheil showing the battlefields as they are today, alongside archive pictures from 100 years ago, will take place in east London.

La Sabliere above Ecusier Vaux - Somme Uplands.

Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace will include large photos by St Maur Sheil, on display at Guildhall Yard. It's free to see.

100 years from the battle, an unexploded shell lies in a wood on the Somme. Known as the Iron Harvest, about 180 tons of unexploded ordnance are recovered from the fields of northern France and Belgium every year.

This exhibition follows a hugely successful one in St James's Park in 2014, which was seen by an estimated 4.7 million visitors between August and November.

South African National Memorial Delville Wood was almost taken by South African Brigade 14-26 July. An attacking force of 3,150, they suffered over 3,000 casualties.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of lectures, including talks given by Michael St Maur Sheil and Sir Anthony Seldon, and Somme artefacts displayed in the City of London Heritage Gallery at Guildhall Art Gallery.

Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: Somme 1916, 1 June-5 July, Guildhall Yard, free.

Last Updated 31 May 2016