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Letter from J P DuCane to Lloyd George on the first day of the Somme

This letter from J P DuCane, who wrote from the Advanced General Headquarters in France, to David Lloyd George, gives an eye-witness account of the beginning of the Somme offensive on 1 July 1916. He provides Lloyd George with an evaluation of the different guns used in the previous week of artillery bombardment and comments on the effectiveness of their performance. At the time of his writing, it was too early to adequately assess the impact shell fire had in destroying German defences however, it soon became clear that many shells had not exploded and so the enemy line remained largely intact.

DuCane also notes that the misty weather made it difficult to see shells bursting over enemy lines. Inclement weather had an adverse effect on the progress of the troops throughout the Battle of the Somme, as it worsened conditions in the trenches and delayed military operations.


Letter from J P DuCane to Lloyd George


1 July 1916

Catalogue number

Parliamentary Archives, LG/D/10/7/2