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Thiepval Memorial, France Thiepval Memorial, France
First Name: Charles Thomas Last Name: GREEN
Date of Death: 07/07/1916 Lived/Born In: North Woolwich
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Fusiliers8
Memorial Site: 1. East Ham, Central Park Memorial 2. Thiepval Memorial, France

Current Information:

Age-19

2, Francis Street, North Woolwich

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.

One of these attacks was made by 12th Division on 7th July, 1916, against the village of Ovillers.  The artillery bombardment of the German defences began at 4.30am and an hour later the men of 36 Brigade moved into the front line trenches from which they would attack at 8.30am. But the enemy, aware of what was happening, plastered these trenches with their own artillery and as there were no dug-outs in which the men could shelter,  the carnage was awful. Over 300 men from 8th Royal Fusiliers, 9th Royal Fusiliers and 7th Sussex became casualties before the attack was launched and when the attack went in it was met with fierce machine gun fire, adding further to the casualty list. But despite all this, men from these three battalions captured the first three German lines, consolidated their position on the second of these and remained there until the survivors were relieved that evening. Total casualties among 8th Royal Fusiliers, 9th Royal Fusiliers and 7th Sussex was over 1400 officers and men. One of these was Charles Green, who was killed in action.

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