Somme, 1916, ’18

Comprising the main Allied attack on the Western Front during 1916, the Battle of the Somme is famous chiefly on account of the loss of 58,000 British troops (one-third of them killed) on the first day of the battle, 1 July 1916, which to this day remains a one-day record. The attack was launched upon a 30-kilometre front, from north of the Somme river between Arras and Albert, and ran from 1 July until 18 November, at which point it was called off.

The Honour is borne on the Guidon of the 8th Hussars.


The Battles of the Somme, 1916

The 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars were involved in many of these repeated attempts to break the German lines in the Somme valley, most notably the assault on the Bazentin Ridge from 14-17 July and the taking of the villages of Flers and Courcelette between 15-22 September, the first-ever use of tanks.

They returned to the Somme area in March 1917 to clear the small pockets of machine guns left by the retreating Germans.

The Battles of the Somme, 1918

The Battles of the Somme from 21 March to 5 April 1918 marked the last desperate attempt by the Germans to break through the British line protecting the Channel Ports.

The 8th Hussars were mounted through most of these battles and were employed in plugging the line wherever it was weakest.

They fought at St Quentin from 21-23 March, Bapaume from 24-25 March and were on the Rosieres Ridge from 26-27 March.

Later in the year when the tide had turned and the Allies were on the advance, they were involved in the last Battle of the Somme at Albert from 12-13 August 1918.

On 11 November, at Maffles, the Regiment heard that the armistice had been signed.

They had lost 105 killed and many, many more wounded in the previous four years.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 8th Hussars
  2. Western Front 1914-18 timeline