Celebrating the lives of Cambridgeshire men who died in the Battle of the Somme

Battle of the Somme

Battle of the Somme - Credit: Archant

A project to research and share the lives of Cambridgeshire soldiers who died in The Battle of the Somme is to be helped by more than £36,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Cambridgeshire County Council has secured the lottery funding to deliver a digital memorial to the 11th Battalion Suffolk Regiment known as Cambridgeshire Pals.

Acting head of service for the county’s libraries and archives, Jill Terrell said: “One hundred years ago, neighbours, friends, colleagues and brothers from villages, towns and cities across Cambridgeshire volunteered to fight in the First World War.

“After an initial period of training, these volunteers were sent to France in January 1916.

“Their first experience of going over the top was to be the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army - July 1, 1916.

“On this day alone, 186 soldiers of the 11th Battalion Suffolk Regiment died and a further 505 were casualties, many of whom never recovered from their wounds.

“They stood together, but not for long, many were killed, many more wounded and later died of their injuries, some recovered sufficiently to fight again, the majority never returned.”

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The project aims to raise awareness of the county’s men who enlisted in the Suffolk Regiment and suffered tragic losses in the battle 100 years ago in 1916.

The digital memorial will be available on the CCAN Great War website from July 1 and will be built upon through to November 2016.

It will involve Cambridgeshire Community Archive Network (CCAN) members, families and local historians and will be delivered in partnership with CCAN which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.