July 1st 1916-2016

Posted on 30th June 2016 by Julie and David Thomson in General News.

July 1st 1916-2016

When you open this newsletter the commemorative events for 1st July will be well underway. We will report on the events in our next newsletter. We ourselves will have attended the Lochnagar ceremony. Last night vigils were taking place at Thiepval and Lochnagar.  We, together with our guests,  held a candle lit vigil in our garden at no.fifty6 which sits on a German trench.

For us it is all about remembrance. A moment and place in time that is forever etched in our psyche which reverberates across the century.

 We have received many messages from across the globe as people join with us, wherever they may be, to reflect on those events of 100 years ago on this historic day. The lives changed irrevocably, the lives cut short, those left behind, those bearing physical and mental scars which no one could talk about -  all are in our thoughts today.  

This is one of our favourite poems by war poet Ewart Allen Mackintosh. 


By Ewart Alan Mackintosh


Well, you have gone now, comrades,

And I shall see no more

The gallant friendly faces

Framed in my dug-out door.

I have no words to tell you

The things I longed to say,

But the company is empty

Since you have gone away.


The company is filled now

With faces strange to see,

And scarce a man of the old men

That lived and fought with me.

I know the drafts are good men,

I know they’re doing well,

But they’re not the men I slept with

Those nights at La Boisselle.


Oh, the days of friendship

We shall not see again,

The little winter trenches

And the marches in the rain.

Becourt, Authuille, Thiepval,

Herancourt, Aveluy,

These names are keys that open

Remembered doors to me.


Doors that will open never,

Upon this tortured land.

I shall not see you ever,

Or take you by the hand.

Only for ancient friendship,

For all the times we knew,

Maybe you will remember

As I remember you.


Please join us, in a moment of quiet reflection on 1 July.  Soldier, sleep sound. 

Comments (13)

Colin Euers says:

Hi there Julie and David.
Have been following coverage of the Somme centenary services throughout the country both in France and UK.

Most moving and of course they featured Lochnager and Mametz, both places we visited last year when searching for a young soldier.
It is wonderful work that you to as you perpetuate the memory of those lost as well as those who survived.
Hope to see you again soon.

Chris Colligan says:

Dear Julie and Dave, I went to bed in NYC on June 30th after watching the BBC News segments re the scheduled commemorations for the centenary of The Battle of the Somme. Thought about both of you and wondered how you would personally be participating in commemorative events. When I woke up this morning, there was your lovely email in my inbox! Wish I could have been with all of you to join the vigil. I hope to be back one of these years, perhaps 2018, the centenary of when my grandfather was fighting in France with the US forces. Sending best wishes to you both.

Paul Ride says:

Dear Julie & Dave
Watched today's commemoration on the TV, here in London, and thought of my visits to the area and I hope the day and the commemorations were befitting of the memory of the fallen.
Many thanks and best wishes

Frank mcnulty says:

Was at ceremony today at Thiepval. Very moving even a 100 years on it doesn't seem like history as like a ripple in a pool the effects can still be felt.
Looking forward to coming back in quieter times for a more personal pilgrimage.

Brian and Margaret Havery says:

Thinking of you both on this special day.A small prayer this morning for Grandad Luke.Hope to see you next year.

Sandy Biback says:

As Canada celebrates 149 years of confederation today, I keep remembering our time with you and Peter Jones of Single Step Tours. I've been watching the lead up to the celebrations. Thanks for keeping the memories alive so we never forget those that gave their lives and those that came back with horrible memories so I could write to you today

Frank Sumsion says:

Filled with pride today recalling the centenary remembrance of "The Somme" and very proud to know that Mike and Kath my son and daughter in law were at Lochnagar and 56 to share the services with you. I have been watching the events unfold today and it gives great credit to those including yourselves who dedicate your time to remembering the fallen, long may it continue they will never be forgotten. RIP lads.

William Koeppel says:

I woke up at 2:15 am this morning and laid in bed thinking of all the soldiers waiting to "GO OVERVTHE TOP!" The feelings they must have had are haunting. I remember looking out of the Number 56 window down in the back yard in the middle of the night thinking Lord, how can there be so much peace now after this location endured so much hell. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the generations of family members that gave their lives. We must never forget what happened there.

William Koeppel
Chicago Illinois

Chris Eoannidis says:

To Julie & Dave
Our time in the Somme & also at #56 in April 2016 has had a profound impact on our lives. We will remember them

Tom Grieves says:

At 1630 today Australia time (0730 France) , I reflected on the events of a century ago. I remembered my Dad Chris Grieves 24/1509 Tyneside Irish NF who survived, and all the others that also survived, and all the lads that made the supreme sacrifice that day. Lest We Forget.

Claire Alford says:

May they all rest in peace. X

Jon Hill says:

Lovely to receive the news from No 56. It is particularly poignant on this very important anniversary of the awful catastrophe, which is The Somme. Thank you

Diane and Paul Thomas says:

Thank - you for your newsletter including poem. I am in Cumbria walking but have seen some news coverage of the events and remember the ''boys' and the time we spent with you at no.56 and the local area . Look forward to hearing news of the remembrance events from you later .

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