Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Somme and Pineapples and Me

BBC Story.

Today is being celebrated as the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. This was a battle in which Britain had 60,000 casulties on the first day, a battle where the British bombarded the German defences for days beforehand without realizing how deep the German defences were. When the men went "over the top" they were mowed down by German machine guns.

According to the BBC "The British suffered around 420,000 casualties, the French 195,000 and the Germans around 650,000." That's right, for a five mile advance 1,265,000 men (including some women) died.

My Grandad (my father's father), Brian Slater, was there. If he had not survived, I would not be here.

How did he survive? According to the family story he went over the top but then got isolated in a shell hole. He stayed there for two days living off one can of tinned pineapples.

I never met him. He died before I was born.

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