Battle of the Somme
On 1st July 2016 it was the 100th anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme, a major battle of the First World War. 20,000 British soldiers died on that day alone.
I found some natural features in the landscape here in the dry river beds near Lajares in Fuerteventura. The first thing that struck me was how much they look like the trenches of the First World War.
My Family in WW1
A number of members of my family were in the army during World War One:
My Grandfather’s parents were both French but died within a few days of each other in an epidemic (Cholera we think) in the 1890s. My grandfather (Henry Danton), and his sister, ended up in a Dr Bernardo’s children’s home. He later lied about his age and joined the regular army as a drummer boy. He went to India with his regiment, becoming the all-army billiards champion twice along the way. In 1915 he ended up in the trenches. We believe he took part in the Battle of the Somme. He died when I was only two.
My Great-Grandfather (who I knew until I was 17) was in service as a chauffeur so became a driver in the army when he joined up as part of Kitchener’s Army. We don’t know where he was during the battle of the Somme, although as a driver, he is unlikely to have been in the front line.
My great Uncle died at the Somme we believe. The only picture I have is with him and my grandmother, together with their other 10 brothers and sisters. It was taken during the war and he has been superimposed in his uniform as he had just been killed when the photo was taken.