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29 July 2014
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Philip Dodd and guests mark the anniversary of the most costly land battle in British history, the Battle of the Somme. There are also reports from some of the battle sites.

Battle of the Somme, 1916

Soldiers of the 2nd Auckland Battalion from New Zealand in a trench near Flers, 15 September 1916
Soldiers of the 2nd Auckland Battalion from New Zealand in a trench near Flers, 15 September 1916
Photograph courtesy of Imperial War Museum, London

Playlist

Philip Dodd and guests mark the 90th anniversary of the most costly land battle in British history.

On July 1st 1916, on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, some 58,000 men were killed or wounded - the highest ever battle casualties inflicted on a single day.

The battle of the Somme, which British generals thought would be over in hours, went on to last nearly five months and claimed the lives of some 600,000 Allied Forces who had only managed to advance by ten kilometres.

Tonight's Night Waves is devoted to the terrible events of that day 90 years ago.

How successfully has nature and mankind retrieved the lines of fighting? And what memories of war remain in the landscape?

The battle is remembered in music, with June Tabor singing contemporary songs and responses to the war. The programme also features archive and recorded memories of survivors of The Somme, as well as some of the famous poetry of the day.

Philip Dodd's panel of guests include the historian Richard Holmes, the novelist Michael Morpurgo and the correspondent Kate Adie. They explore the significance of the Somme, the ways in which it has been represented, and its ongoing meaning for today.

Night Waves remembers ... The Battle of the Somme - Friday 30 June - live at 9.30 here on BBC Radio 3.

FURTHER INFORMATION

BBC History - World War One

Imperial War Museum online exhibition on Battle of the Somme




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