Yesterday - July 2nd, I attended the 100th anniversary Somme event at Heaton Park, Manchester. The organisers put on a fantastic display, but unfortunately the attendance by the general public was no that good. I gave my talk on the Accrington Pals - and the finer points of the SMLE, in the afternoon in the speakers tent, and it all appeared to go down well. I met up with some really nice people from the re-enacting community. There was a serving officer (Major) from the regular army who was dressed up as a Major in the Manchester Regiment - and he didn't half look the part.
I found the TV coverage very good on the Friday. But I was quite surprised by Dame Shirley Williams when she spoke about the 'Pals' battalions, it was obvious that she didn't have a clue what she was on about - and she had to be corrected by historian, Richard van Emden. Then a serving soldier was interviewed, and he was going on about the 20,000 casualties on the first day of the battle - and then the TV host interviewing him said that 60,000 were killed on the first day. Where on earth do these people get their information from at all? do they employ monkeys to do the research for them?