‘THE SOMME – WHAT REALLY HAPPENED’

12 February 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By Cianna McNally

The Ulster Canal Stores, Clones provided the setting last Friday for an informative and interesting discussion on the Battle of the Somme as part of History Ireland magazine’s Hedge School series.

Entitled ‘The Somme – What Really Happened,’ the event, which drew a large crowd, was opened by Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys. Contributors to the discussion on the night, which was chaired by History Ireland editor Tommy Graham, included Clones historian George Knight from Clogher Historical Society, curator of Irish Military History at the National Museum of Ireland, Lar Joye and the volunteer co-ordinator of the East Belfast & The Great War Research Project, Jason Burke. Apologies were received from lecturer in modern global history at UCD, Dr Jennifer Wellington, who had also been due to form part of the panel, for her inability to attend due to illness.

The Somme Offensive was one of the bloodiest battles in history lasting from 1st July – 18th November 1916. It cost the lives of more than 1.5 million men, many of them members of the 36th (Ulster) Division, and later soldiers of the 16th (Irish) Division. The discussion in Clones centered on matters including the nature of war at that time and there was also a strong focus on its effect on the Irish people who were involved in it.

Mr Burke outlined how in the first two days of the Battle of the Somme, the 36th (Ulster) Division, which at the outset comprised of approximately 16,000 men, lost in the region of 5,500. On a more local….

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