21st Division 1914-18...a divisional history

1st July Attacks at Fricourt


Fricourt 1st July 1916



Background

21st division moved into the line in preparation for the launch of the British part of the offensive on the Somme. The Somme battle was in the main at the bequest of the French government and her Generals who were desperate for some respite from the human grinding machine further south at Verdun-sur-Meuse. Both the Germans and the French had been feeding divisions in to the offensive around the fortified town since 21st February 1916 and it was perhaps Britain's allies who could afford the losses the least. Yet so symbolic was Verdun that giving it up was not an option.

David Campbell's men were part of VX Corps (21st, 17th, 7th) under Lt-General Horne. Facing them was the fortified village of Fricourt. The area had originally been under French control, with the British troops taking over the line sometime around August 1915. The French had begun tunnelling with the intention to mine the German front line from an area called Tambour Duclos. The British tunnellers carried on the mining.

Work in progress...updated 20th April 2008