Relic of World War one, 1st day, Somme

Contributed by Andymyersuk

Relic of World War one, 1st day, Somme

On July 1st 1916, my Great Grandfather, Private Sam Cooper, was with the 7th Battalion, The East Yorkshire Regiment opposite the town of Fricourt. To the north were the British lines, including many of the 'Pals' regiments, to the east were the French army. From going over the top, I believe the regiment lost around 123 killed and wounded in 3 minutes or so. Fricourt was the first part of the British line where the British broke through and, on July 2nd, Sam's battalion reached Fricourt Wood, which had been heavily shelled by the British and largely destroyed; they found a single tree that had survived the carnage largely undamaged, and some of them cut a branch as a good luck token. Sam carried this with him for the rest of the war, surviving going over the top 21 times, though being wounded twice and ending the war in the medical corps. The stick has been made into a swagger stick, complete with silver 1916 3d piece in the handle. The stick bears a couple of small scars from shrapnel and has now been passed on to my son, along with Sam's campaign medals and other memorabilia

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