6th Battalion, Royal Berks
1st July 1916

Gallery - Present Day Front Line View 1

"A long gentle slope, on the right almost flat" - British Official History

This is a view looking north west from the approx. position of the 8th Norfolks and so depicts the ground over which the 6th Berks made their assault on 1st July, 1916. Their final objective was the Montauban Alley trench, located just over the ridge along which the Montauban - Mametz road runs. The distance to be covered was some 2000 yards.

"Up and over, the first thing I noticed, how the top of the tall grass was flying up in a bit of a mist; this was caused by the machine-guns traversing at waist height against us. My men were falling all around, some shouting, "I'm hit" or "I've got it", and some not a word. Then, as we were advancing, a bunch of Jerries loomed up from nowhere. I let a burst into them but, when we got to them, we found they were surrendering" - L/Cpl W.G. Sanders, Lewis Gunner, 10th Essex, attacking alongside the Berkshires.

"Men were falling left and right of me, screaming above the noise of the shell fire and machine-guns - guns we had been assured would be silenced by our barrage. No man in his right mind would have done what we were doing" - L/Cpl J.J. Cousins, 7th Bedfords, attacking on the left of the Berkshires.

Quotations from "The First Day on the Somme" by Martin Middlebrook

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