“There was a terrible smell (…) A smell of rotten flesh (…) Bodies all over the place. I’ll never forget it”, British Corporal Joe Hayles recalled the horrors of the Battle of the Somme. On November 18, 1916, Sir #Douglas#Haig, Commander in Chief of the British Expeditionary Force, called a halt to the offensive launched by the Allies in July at the River Somme. Despite the fact that the Entente Powers managed to penetrate into the German-controlled territory not more than 7 miles (~11 km), the opposing forces suffered heavy losses: 420 thousand British, 200 thousand French and nearly half a million German troops were killed in the battle. Each day 893 British troops lost their lives, and those who survived the carnage – like the youngest soldier of the First World War, then 13-year-old Sydney Lewis – the horror of the bloodletting was forever burned into their minds.
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