Somme 100 Ballot Goes Online

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.

Countdown To The Somme Centenary


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

Meanwhile have a read of some of the existing articles such as about the 50th Anniversary of the Battle or young Second Lieutenant Eric Rupert Heaton who died on 1st July 1916 at Beaumont Hamel.

The Somme Battlefields: A New Start

ADANAC Cemetery, Courcelette

“… here above the Ancre lie many of the most gallant of my regiment, men who were my friends, men whose memory I shall revere to the end of time. Some of them were soldiers by profession; others had turned aside from their chosen avocations in obediences to a call which might not be denied… they have passed into silence. We hear their voices no more. Yet it must be that somewhere the music of those voices linger…”, Charles Douie, The Weary Road (1929)

I first visited the Somme battlefields more than thirty years ago. During a hot summer as a teenager I walked the ground with my father; somehow the old Somme battlefields enchanted me and the voices of men like Douie (above) took me on many more journeys over the years; sometimes with veterans of the battle, more often with friends and finally I found myself living on the Somme in the days when that was a rarity; living in an old French farm house, bringing up a young family and living through times now long past that will no doubt one day fill a book.

The Somme has changed over the years but I have never stopped visiting those battlefields and never stopped studying them and as we approach the centenary of the Great War this site will replace an older Somme battlefields website that I had online for some years.

The site will feature photos, stories, contemporary images and maps, and information about battlefield sites across the Somme area.