On Friday 18 November 2016, The Royal British Legion, in partnership with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, held a Drumhead service at the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing in commemoration of the final day of the Battle of the Somme, one of the most deadly battles of the Great War.
Since the 1st July and on each of the 141 days of the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, a series of commemorations have been held in tribute to the men who fought and died during the battle.
To mark the final day of the Somme, The Royal British Legion, in partnership with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and the Department for Culture , Media and Sport held a service at the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. The stormy weather did not hamper the occasion and only helped to remind the hundreds of people present at the service of the terrible conditions these men would have faced as winter approached on the Somme in 1916.
Interview with Bob Gamble OBE Assistant Director of Engagement at The Royal British Legion.
Photos of the service
Hervé François, directeur de l'Historial de la Grande Guerre de Péronne, Barbara Pompili, secrétaire d'Etat du gouvernement français, Frederick Curzon, ministre d'Etat à la Défense du gouvernement britannique, et Edward Llewellyn, ambassadeur du Royaume-Uni en France, visitent le nouveau musée de Thiepval.
Photo Yazid Medmoun - Cd80
Joseph Courtecuisse, Sylvie Douchet and their daughter Céline Courtecuisse from Saint Riquier in the Somme.
“A member of our family fought on the Somme. In remembrance of him we have tried to attend as many of the centenary commemorations as possible, including Notre Dame de Lorette, Verdun, Longueval, Thiepval on 1st July and lastly, today's service. The ceremonies in commemoration of the Battle of the Somme have also enabled us to better understand this battle. Remembrance is important. We have to remember the sacrifice of these men in order for our younger generations to learn that these events must never be repeated.”
A French couple visiting Thiepval
“We are interested in the history of my wife's grandfather who was a British soldier. We have followed the places described in his war diary, which are in fact the sites of the Remembrance Trail. It was thus important to be here today. The ironic thing is that my grandfather was Polish and so fought alongside the Germans during the First World War. My grandfather was my wife's grandfather's enemy!”
Heather Payne from Cardiff
“I came from Cardiff with a group of friends because a soldier from our town is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. We came here to remember him and all of his comrades who fought during this terrible battle. We also made this same pilgrimage on 1st July. During our time here we also visited other places in the Somme. We have been deeply touched by how the memory is kept alive in the Somme.”
Trevor and Caroline Adams from Northern Ireland and living in Wales
“My grandfather was wounded on 1st July during the Battle of the Somme. He died in a field hospital on 3rd July and is buried in Puchevillers. We have visited all of the major sites of remembrance and attended the ceremony at the Ulster Tower on 1st July 2016. The commemorations were extremely dignified and respectful. We accomplished our duty to remember these men.”