6th Battalion, Royal Berks
1st July 1916
 
 

Introduction

Some time ago I was given a photograph of a young man in Corporal's uniform. Written on the back was a short reference to his being Albert, my grandfather's eldest brother and that he had been "Killed First World War". My grandfather had died some years previously and had never spoken of Albert - indeed nobody in the family knew anything about him. I resolved to find out more about this young man.

Having established that he had been in the 6th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment and the date and rough location of his death it was clear that he had been taking part in the opening day of something called the Somme Offensive - at that time I knew next to nothing about the first world war, although the more I read the more absorbing that period of history became. I quickly discovered that there is a wealth of information available about the first day of the Somme, although understandably most of it deals with the northern part of the assault, as this was where the tremendous tragedy occured that lead to 1st July, 1916 being the blackest day in British military history and which sent a shockwave through the established social order of the day.

There is less detailed information easily available for those interested in the southern end of the battlefield, where all objectives were taken and despite suffering heavy casualties the utter carnage that happened further north was avoided. One aim of this site is therefore to try and help anyone else with an interest in The Somme, particularly the part played by the 6th Berks., avoid going to the lengths that I had to in order to obtain even the limited knowledge presented here. In time, the site will be expanded as my research continues. Of course, if anyone feels able to add to it then I would welcome their contribution.

The other reason for writing these pages is that in a way I feel I owe it to Albert and his pals. Although I still don't know exactly how he died (and suspect that I never will), I do feel satisfied at having made some progress to understanding what he went through and that he can now truly rest in peace, his sacrifice finally recognised.

Andy Teal
 


N.B. I believe the information on this site to be accurate. If there are mistakes then they almost certainly reflect my interpretation of the various sources used rather than the sources themselves, for which I apologise - corrections would be welcome
A.T.