Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'New York Post' slammed for publishing ISIS execution images

Read more

DEBATE

Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza conflict: 72-hour ceasefire deal sets stage for Cairo talks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

FOCUS

Spain's El Hierro to become world's first self-powered island

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

ENCORE!

Luc Besson back in action with Scarlett Johansson in 'Lucy'

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 8.40 pm Paris time.

REPORTERS

REPORTERS

Latest update : 2014-08-08

WWI: The Somme, Land of Remembrance

© France 24

Every year in France, more than 200,000 visitors walk across the battlefields of the Somme. They come from Great Britain, Canada or even from Australia and New Zealand with one goal: to lay flowers on the graves of hundreds of thousands of soldiers of the British Empire who fell here during World War One.

The Battle of the Somme is considered to be the bloodiest in the military history of the Commonwealth. For young states like Australia and New Zealand, it was their baptism of fire. In these countries, the Somme is part of their national identity.

All the countries that made up the British Empire in the 20th century have kept the date of July 1st, 1916 engraved in their collective memory. That day, the French and the British launched an offensive assault of unprecedented proportions on the German positions between Bapaume and Péronne. But from day one, their momentum broke under fire from enemy machine guns. 60,000 Commonwealth soldiers were killed, wounded or taken prisoner. The massacre would continue until November 1916.

Nearly one hundred years later, France 24 headed to the memorials of the Somme, north of Paris. Every year, the commemorations of ANZAC Day and July 1st gather thousands of participants from around the world, mainly from Commonwealth countries.

Our reporters met the descendants of soldiers and other visitors gathered to honour the memory of the fallen.

By Florence GAILLARD

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2014-08-08 WWI centenary

WWI: The Somme, Land of Remembrance

Every year in France, more than 200,000 visitors walk across the battlefields of the Somme. They come from Great Britain, Canada or even from Australia and New Zealand with one...

Read more

2014-08-01 France

The Depths of Hell: 1914-1918

100 years ago, on August 3rd, 1914, Germany declared war on France. Europe was thrown into chaos, and the world plunged into total war. Machine guns, tanks, toxic gas, planes,...

Read more

2014-07-25 Islam

Halal tourism on the rise

The race to corner France’s Muslim market, which has already seen the development of such products as halal candy, cosmetics and clothing, has extended to holiday packages.

Read more

2014-07-18 Hong Kong

Hong Kong in rebellion against the 'motherland'

In 1997 Hong Kong was proud to re-establish its Chinese identity after more than 150 years under British colonisation. But the atmosphere has changed and Hong Kong is now in open...

Read more