Soldier's letter:
first day of the Battle of the Somme

Extract from a letter by Lieutenant Will Mulholland of the 21st Manchester Battalion to his cousin, mid-July 1916.

Will Mulholland was a New Army volunteer with the 21st Manchesters, one of the 'Pals' battalions that were formed in the early part of the war. In this extract from a letter to his cousin, he gives a vivid account of the fighting on the first day of the Battle of the Somme (1 July 1916), during which his battalion was engaged in trying to capture the village of Mametz. The contrast between the beautiful summer weather (with fields 'wonderfully rich with flowers') and the horrors of the battle (where a shell would occasionally burst 'and some fellow would be torn asunder') is starkly drawn.
IWM 66/144/1 (mid-Jul 1916)

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