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Old 07-04-2016, 12:03 PM   #1
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Somme centenary

1st July, 1916, was the first day of the battle of the Somme in France during WW1. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916. The BBC broadcast the whole of the service from the Thiepval memorial in France. Very moving. I am not a serial weeper but it had me in tears.

The only complaint that I have is that they (quite rightly), went on at length about the men killed and maimed in the battle but, as far as I could tell, ignored the nursing sisters, VADs (Voluntary Aid Detachment - a voluntary unit providing field nursing services), members of the all women's First Aid Nursing Yeomanry and the women ambulance drivers who served in France and were killed "in action". All the above were volunteers.

Nit-picking perhaps but......

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Old 07-04-2016, 03:27 PM   #2
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MC, I don't think you're nit-picking. In many cases, especially in the time of war, if it weren't for the support services, voluntary included, there would have been even more fatalities and wounded. They were a very important group during the war effort. I know my Dad would reminisce about how grateful they were for the help they got from both the Salvation Army (he had no good words for the Red Cross...) and the villagers they met during WWII. He loved telling us about how some families would lay a spread of food on tables and benches right in their yards and invite the soldiers to eat and drink. Dad said people like that made the war bearable because they so appreciated the efforts of the soldiers.

I didn't know much about the battle of Somme, so I read a few articles online just now. Because of your post I'm a little smarter (and sadder) today.

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Old 07-04-2016, 06:59 PM   #3
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MC, I agree. It was only recently that WASPS were allowed to be buried in Arlington Cemetery. These were Women Air Force Service Pilots, first women in history to fly America's military aircraft.
They delivered military planes, towed gunnery targets among other things. Some of them were killed during the war.
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