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Panoramic photograph of the Somme on the eve of battle, 1916

From 24 to 30 June 1916, a preliminary bombardment by the British aimed to destroy German lines by cutting through barbed wire and decimating trench defences and artillery. It was hoped that this would make it easier for British troops to progress and occupy German territory quickly and successfully. Over 1.5 million shells were fired over the week in preparation for the troops' advance. After a 48 hour delay due to bad weather, the first British troops advanced into no-man's land at 07.30am on 1 July 1916. This photograph was taken on the eve of 1 July from behind the British front line, and was given as a gift to David Lloyd George by an ex-soldier many years later in 1934.