On This Day 1916

As the morning sun warmed the ground on the 1st July 1916 and broke through the mist, rays of sunshine lit the Somme battlefield, the British barrage reached a crescendo. At 07:28 the mines were fired and for some minutes soil, stones and debris rained down, the ground shook and trembled and then at 07:30, “zero hour” the whistles blew, ladders placed against the trench walls and Byker brothers Private William Couley of the 2nd Tyneside Irish and Lance Corporal Frank Couley of the 1st Tyneside Scottish rose from their trenches.

They began to advance in formation to the sound of pipers in beautifully regular lines, with intervals maintained as if they were on an ordinary parade, straight into the German counter barrage and machine guns.

It is not known where or when William and Frank fell. William's body was never found and he is commemorated on the Theipval Memorial. Frank is buried in Ovillers Military Cemetery near La Boiselle.

You can read more about William here and Frank here