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Thiepval Memorial, France Thiepval Memorial, France
First Name: Ernest James Last Name: ADAMSON
Date of Death: 09/07/1916 Lived/Born In: Abbey Wood
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Fusiliers13
Memorial Site: Thiepval Memorial, France

Current Information:

Age-20

Served as GRAMOLT

Born-Wood Green

The Battle of the Somme (July-November, 1916)

On 1st July 1916 The British Army launched a massive offensive along a section of the front line running north of the River Somme. The French attacked south of it. The first day was a disaster for the British army which suffered nearly 60,000 casualties, 19,000 of whom were killed, and made hardly any inroads into the enemy lines. But the battle had to go on, if for no other reason than to relieve pressure on the French at Verdun where they had been facing the full onslaught of the powerful German Army. So it continued all the way through to November with nearly every battalion and division then in France being drawn into it at some stage. In the end the German trenches had been pushed back a few miles along most of the line but the cost in lives had been staggering. By the end of the fighting in November, 1916, British Army casualties numbered over 400,000, killed, wounded and missing.

The few successes there had been on 1st July, 1916 were in the southern part of the battlefield and it was this sector that now became the focus of the battle. But it was not a well co-ordinated or planned offensive that was launched between 7th-13th July. A series of piecemeal attacks took place on the villages of Ovillers and Contalmaison and on Mametz Wood and although some ground was gained, it came at a huge cost in life.

On 7th July  37th Division began their relief of 19th Division and 13th Royal Fusiliers of 111 Brigade moved up to the old German front line at La Boisselle, temporarily coming under the orders of 56 Brigade. The following day, 8th July, 19th Division were still in position to repel a German advance from Contalmaison after which 13th Royal Fusiliers were ordered to advance on the left of the line and secure a German trench 1,000 yards forward. They achieved this, meeting little opposition, but a small party of the battalion carried the advance too far and in so doing ran into well sited defences and sustained many casualties. The death of Ernest Adamson, and a number of other men from 13th Royal Fusiliers, is recorded as 9th July but according to the Battalion Diary, 13th Royal Fusiliers rested during this day in reserve positions and makes no mention of any casualties so it is much more likely that he was killed on 8th July.

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