Plus ça Change

Plus ça Change…

Major Probert in his 1914-18 War Diaries draws a parallel between the Somme battle lines and Henry V’s. An extract from his diary on the actual fighting reads:

‘In February 1916 we marched from Hangest to the Somme… the observation post was actually on the road along which Henry V had marched from Peronne towards Agincourt…The preliminary bombardment started on June 24 at about 7am…On July 1st the infantry attacked …Our Senior Subaltern was wounded and I was sent up instead…(He was aged 20)…It was quite a sight to see the foot soldiers each with a large pink square of flannel pinned to the back of his pack, bayonets flashing in the sun, plodding up the hill – a great many wounded lying about crying for stretcher bearers…I learned afterwards that 20,000 men were lost on that first day…’

[from: Penallt – A Village Miscellany]