The Department of Culture, Media & Sport website for the Somme Centenary ballot went online yesterday. The website allows you to register for the official commemoration of the Battle of the Somme which will take place at the Thiepval Memorial, in the heart of the Somme, on 1st July 2016.
Registration was quick and easy. You add your personal details, which also include your passport number, and then the details are sent on. I had a registration email in just a few seconds.
Two things surprised me: the site promotes a special Eurostar service which will take those with tickets across for the day. Good for Eurostar but not so good for local hotels and services on the Somme. I also noted that anyone under 18 could not register; personally I would have preferred to see that set at 16. Having said that, so far the approach shows that DCMS are taking this seriously and that is to be welcomed.
A year from today it will be the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. While many of the battles and campaigns of 1915 have been largely ignored by the media this year, the Somme has become a by-word for the Great War to a wider public and the year 2016 is likely to be something of a repeat of 2014 which much interest, many new books and a host of related events.
As a count-down to the anniversary, this site will be expanding over the next year with lot’s of new Somme related posts, photographs, films and information.
You can access the site via the WordPress address which probably brought you here or quickly via www.somme1916.com.
Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows I have a penchant for taking photographs of sunsets, especially on the Somme Battlefields (such as that above). The huge open landscapes make it particularly suitable for this type of photography, as well as the connection to events there in 1916.
I was therefore very pleased when the Western Front Association contacted me to use a few of my photographs in their new 2014 Calendar which contains photographs of the WW1 battlefields in France and Flanders as they are today. There are some amazing images from people like Andrew Holmes, Steve Smith and Nick Stone, among others.
The WFA is also a registered charity, so buying the Calendar really helps.
It can be ordered via this link.