The newspapers have been devoting considerable column space to the massive Anglo-French offensive that began on 1 July. Initial reports indicate the attack, which is taking place in the region of the Somme River, was mostly successful, with both British and French armies making considerable gains.
An indication of expected Allied success was the arrival of another batch of German prisoners of war in the island. These additional 450 men landed at St Helier Harbour on 7 July under close military escort, and transferred to Blanche Banques POW camp. They have reportedly been moved from camps in England to free space needed for accommodating prisoners expected to be taken in the new offensive. Their arrival brings the number in the St Ouen’s Bay camp to more than 1,500.
While there is considerable excitement at the prospects for this latest ‘big push’, Jersey families are also facing an anxious wait for news of loved ones that may have been involved in the fighting – serving both Britain and France. The lists of casualties beginning to appear in the papers are a sobering indication of the scale of fighting and the potential Allied losses.
D/Z/H2/7 contains correspondence on the estate of Private George Bewhay of 9th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, one of nearly 20,000 British soldiers to die on 1 July 1916.