How and why should we remember the battle of the Somme today?

The students will evaluate the significance of the Battle of the Somme – both at the time and since. Too often Battle of the Somme is examined from a limited perspective: as a typical, and possibly futile, Western Front offensive. This is compounded by a limited focus on the events of 1 July.

Stage 1

To what extent did the Battle of the Somme impact on different local communities and why is it still remembered today?

In the first stage of the enquiry students look at how the Battle of the Somme impacted on communities back home, and how the scale of the casualties sustained along with the specific experiences of the Pals Battalions still resonate 100 years after the event.

The Battle of the Somme 1916 – background information

Resource sheet which sets the scene with a brief overview of the Battle of the Somme: Where it was fought, why it was fought, the key events including 1 July 1916 and the eventual outcome.

Stage 2

What lessons did the Generals learn from the Battle of the Somme?

This stage considers the Battle of the Somme in terms of evolving military strategy and tactics throughout the First World War. The Somme is often presented solely in terms of the failures of 1 July and the weaknesses or lack of imagination of the General Staff. This is a significant oversimplification and it is important to briefly examine the nature of the 1915 offensives, and the impact this experience had on planning for 1916.

Allies plans for the Battle of the Somme

Using this worksheet students are required to look at the list of problems faced by the Allies in 1915 and to judge whether or not the plans drawn up for the Battle of the Somme adequately addressed these.

Stage 3

What role did soldiers from Newfoundland and Australia play in the Battle of the Somme and what effect did this have on their countries?

This section examines the role the First World War played in creating a sense of national identity amongst soldiers from the former dominions of Newfoundland and Australia.

The Battle of the Somme and the British Empire

This section examines the role the First World War played in creating a sense of national identity amongst soldiers from the former dominions of Newfoundland and Australia.  This resource introduces students to background information to ensure they understand the important role played in the First World War by countries in the British Empire.

Stage 4

How has the way the Battle of the Somme is viewed changed over time?

The purpose of this stage is to get your students to assess the immediate outcome of the Battle, its cost – personal, military, financial – and to examine how the story and the lessons of the Battle of the Somme have been told since early 1917.

What was the cost of the Battle of the Somme?

In this worksheet the students are presented with an overview of the Battle of the Somme, the outcome and the cost, and have to consider whether the Battle was worth fighting and who, if anyone, was to blame for the enormous losses.

Stage 5

How and why should we remember the Battle of the Somme today?


In this final stage the students draw on their learning throughout the enquiry to consider: How and why should we remember the Battle of the Somme today?

The Somme leaflet template

A template to help students design an information leaflet for a tour group that is going to visit the Somme battlefield sites in France. The aim of the leaflet is to provide the tour group with background information about the Battle of the Somme and to explain how and why it should it should still be remembered 100 years later.

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