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To this day, The Somme, 1st July 1916 remains the darkest day in the British Army’s illustrious history.
By the end of that first day the British had suffered 57,470 casualties of which 19,240 were dead. An entire generation fell on a single morning. Despite the heavy casualties the battle continued until November 18th and claimed over 1,000,000 casualties on each side.
The Battle of the Somme was one of the bloodiest battles in human history

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The Pal Battalions
Pals battalions were a uniquely British phenomenon. Britain was the only major power not to begin the First World War with a mass conscripted army. After the war broke out, it quickly became clear that the small professional British Army was not large enough for a global conflict.
In a wave of patriotic fervour, thousands of men volunteered for service in Lord Kitchener's New Armies. As part of this, it was realised that local ties could be harnessed for national gain. Many more men would enlist if they could serve alongside their friends, relatives and workmates.
On 21 August 1914, the first Pals battalion began to be raised from the stockbrokers of the City of London. In a matter of days 1,600 men had joined what became the 10th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. Lord Derby first coined the phrase 'battalion of pals' and recruited enough men to form three battalions of the King's (Liverpool) Regiment in only a week.
Pals battalions became synonymous with the towns of northern Britain. Men from cities including Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Hull, Glasgow and Edinburgh all enlisted in their thousands in 1914 and 1915. But Pals battalions were also raised from Birmingham to Bristol and from Cambridge to Cardiff.
After training, the first Pals battalions began to arrive on the Western Front from mid-1915.
However, many of the Pals battalions were not to see their first major action until the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916. Many of these units sustained heavy casualties, which had a significant impact on their communities. With the introduction of conscription in 1916, the close-knit nature of the Pals battalions was never to be replicated.

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