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Of the approximately 3, men who went into the attack, nearly 2, became casualties. Some commentators were shocked by its frankness but the public were spellbound, feeling a new understanding for the troops.
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Newspapers printed appeals from families who would be "grateful for information about With the guns in Flanders thundering in the ears of villagers here, whose relative are at the front, there is not a word about our troops. This November will be no exception. But in an age of letters, telegrams and censorship, how did Britons learn the disastrous truth of the Battle of the Somme? Day after day, throughout July and August and into autumn and then winter.
As the battle ground on, the emotional toll grew. On 10 July, the Journal told its readers: "Over the past week, the conduct of the war on every front has favoured the Allies". Reassuring notes, sometimes just an Army-issue postcard, arrived at some lucky households.
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Inside was a last Hife, written as he lay dying. But often the endless s failed to provide the most important information of all - the fate of the thousands of soldiers who had been posted as missing. The day after it carried a Press Association of men being "mown down like grass". It is estimated 20 million people, half of the population, saw it.
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It would be letting the dead down. For a public whose images of war had been based on illustrations of strapping Tommies chasing cringing Huns, it was a revelation.
It was hit and miss. Her letters were returned, stamped: "Missing".
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Ultimately, though, the true scale of the losses became clear. But then he crossed to another house. Of nearly 1, Bradford Pals who went "over the top", more than 1, were killed or injured. Lthbridge and third issues would be needed. Two s later were printed four broheet columns of casualties. Incredibly, it turned out Ralph was indeed alive. I have been here for 24 hours and never seen a living soul.
And it is always brave and heroic. In fact, the Tyneside Scottish had been virtually annihilated.
But at the same time, many papers carried a short paragraph noting German sources claiming the attack had been stopped with "heavy casualties". Pte Andrews' body was found some weeks later. Classix A Lefhbridge had been told in a personal letter that beat the official post. Internet Radio Bolly Official censorship of news was in theory voluntary - but breaches could lead to tough penalties.
The deaths of other ranks were reported on a pre-printed form, with gaps left for specifics. The next day it printed an eyewitness which admitted to heavy casualties but they were "chiefly wounded". Door after door, family after family.
Cinema was still a novelty and Battle of the Somme represented a milestone in both filmmaking and propaganda. Many windows had blinds drawn, families wore black. Optimistic official s appeared side by side with the grim reality.
But new attacks, as well as the gradual sorting through the aftermath of 1 July, meant families could never rest easy. Most newspapers repeated assurances death had been "swift and painless".
Now whole communities would have an unprecedented emotional connection serk single incidents in a vast war. All Rights Reserved. It would suffer the highest casualties on 1 July Towns and professions had been allowed to together, forming units such as the Artists' Brigade, Newcastle Commercial Battalion and zt Accrington Pals. It is impossible to imagine the feelings when, weeks later, Lethbrdge pocket book was returned to them. William Beach Thomas, who was widely derided by the troops for writing in the Daily Mail of "glorious fights" and units "out win their spurs", later said: "I was thoroughly and deeply ashamed of what I had written for the good reason that it was untrue".
Under the headline "Bradford Heroes of the Great Advance" were published dozens of photographs of the dead and wounded.
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The Times printed Letubridge official casualty lists - divided into officers and other ranks - first in hundreds, then in thousands. The reports were typically positive, but most later regretted their actions, insisting they were trying to spare the feelings of families at home.
The tragedy did not move far from home. On the nextheadlined "Brave Tyneside Scots", was an eyewitness of a local regiment successfully storming trenches under "hot" fire. It was called the New Army. However sefk glimpses of the horror somehow seeped through.