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The Keep Military Museum is remembering and commemorating the 503 men of the Dorset and Devonshire Regiments who lost their lives on the first 5 days of the Somme, July 1916 with a Roll of Honour in their memory.
On July 1 st 1916, 120,000 British and Commonwealth troops attacked German positions along a 17-mile-wide front north of the River Somme. South of the river the assault was continued by the French Army. Great things were expected; a week-long barrage by 1,500 guns had fired 1.5 million shells and it was expected that minimal opposition would be encountered, enemy trenches having been destroyed and the barbed wire cut.
Instead, the troops leaving their trenches advanced into a storm of machine gun and artillery fire and found, in many places, the wire still intact. At Authuille Wood, the Dorset’s 1st Battalion suffered huge casualties even before reaching the British front line.
The Roll of Honour has been made possible by the tireless work of a museum volunteer, who through extensive research has created this moving tribute. The Roll of Honour includes names, burial details and where possible photographs of those who lost their lives.