Historian to deliver talk on Battle of the Somme

Historian Paul Smith
Historian Paul Smith

A commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Battles of the Somme is to be held in Garstang next month with a lecture by historian Paul Smith.

The illustrated lecture, entitled “The Big Push - Britain and the Somme, 1916” is to be held on Saturday, July 2 at Garstang Arts Centre at 7.30pm,

The talk will look at the pivotal four month battle that brought the horrific impact of the Great War home to the people of Britain.

It was this country’s first major effort to defeat Germany and her allies in the First World War.

Special mention will be made of the 22 servicemen from Garstang and surrounding villages who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The first part of the lecture will examine the social history context of the event, the response to the appeal made by Lord Kitchener in August 1914, the dramatic rush to the colours and the appearance of the so-called “Pals” battalions.

Paul will also speak about the role of two local regiments in the drive to secure recruits in Garstang and the wider area.

After a break for refreshments, the second part will examine the aims of Britain’s Military High Command for the Somme.

Key aspects to be explained will be the choice of battlefield and its features, the week-long artillery preparation, the men gathering in the trenches .. and their first tragic assault on July 1. The principle events of the long attritional battle will be outlined before the talk concludes with an opportunity for questions.

Tickets for the lecture cost £5 (including refreshments) are available from Market Place News, Garstang. Early purchase is advise to avoid disappointment.

*Paul is the co-author of the book on those from Garstang who died in the Great war. Copies are still available (from Market Place News, Garstang, Garstang Tourist office and the Dewlay cheese shop, A6, Garstang).