The Somme 1916 – Beyond the First Day

The Somme 1916 – Beyond the First Day

Jon Cooksey & Jerry Murland
ARRSE Rating
4.5 Mushroom Heads
This book is a “Visitor’s Guide” designed to facilitate walks, cycles and drives around the Somme battlefield beyond those normally attempted, as the title suggests. It covers the main secondary actions of the 1916 Somme campaign, from Beaucourt to Mametz, and is a companion to the authors’ previous volume “First Day of the Somme - Gommecourt to Maricourt”.

A 200 page paperback, this is compact a mine of information and whilst the maps and are very basic, they are at least clear and relevant to the routes described with liberal sprinklings of photographs (once again, actually relevant to what is written which makes a refreshing change)

The content of the book is sensibly set out, with a brief chapter detailing sensible and helpful advice about visiting cemeteries and staying in the area followed by a brief scene setting chapter giving historical context. Then it’s straight into nine well-planned walks of varying length each dealt with in its own chapter. The writing style is not complex, and anyone with a basic grasp of WW1 will not get lost in buzzwords and inconsequential facts and figures.
I haven’t visited the Somme for a decade or so, but I would feel confident in using this as my primary guide (along with the recommended Michelin maps). This is a worthy, up-to-date successor to the Major & Mrs Holt series of battlefield guides, and the next time I’m allowed to go to the Somme (By either SWMBO or the Government) , I will be taking this and its companion volume with me.

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