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Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel
First Name: Robert Last Name: FARR
Date of Death: 01/07/1916 Lived/Born In: West Brompton
Rank: Lance Corporal Unit: Border1
Memorial Site:

Current Information:

Age-19

23 Redcliffe Gardens, West Brompton

Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel

The opening day of the Battle of the Somme 1st July 1916

This was a disastrous day for the British Army in France. Eleven divisions of Fourth Army attacked along a 15 mile front from Maricourt to Serre. Two further divisions of Third Army launched a diversionary attack just to the north of Serre at Gommecourt. For a week beforehand the British artillery pounded the German trenches but the Germans had been there for a long time and they had constructed deep, concrete reinforced shelters beneath their trenches and many survived the bombardment. The troops went over the top at 7.30am but even before they had left their overcrowded trenches, many had been killed or maimed by German artillery. The Germans knew that they were coming. Once in No-Man’s-Land the artillery continued to take its toll and then the machine guns opened up on the advancing British infantry. They fell in their thousands and the attack came to a standstill almost everywhere. Survivors sought cover wherever they could find it and at night they crawled back to their own lines, often dragging a wounded soldier with them. Only in the south were any advances made with the attack on Fricourt and Mametz. Over 19,000 British soldiers were killed on this day, including 2,500 from London.

The 29th Division attacked the village of Beaumont-Hamel. In front of 87 Brigade ran Y Ravine, a strongly fortified German position. The two leading battalions of 87 Brigade, 1st  Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and 2nd South Wales Borderers came to grief on the uncut German wire so, shortly after 8am, up moved 1st  Border and 1st Scottish Borderers to have another go. By now the enemy artillery was placing a heavy and accurate barrage on the British front, support and reserve lines and this resulted in many casualties to these two battalions as they moved up in support, over the open. The second attack was duly made but was no more successful than the first and although many lives were lost, no ground was gained.

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