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General JC Campbell, VC, addresses 137th Brigade from the entrance to the Riqueval Tunnel near Bellicourt, France, 2 October 1918 © Imperial War Museums 

The battlefields of the Somme are little more than an hour’s drive from Calais, one reason why so many of those who set out on the sombre tour of the memorials are British. After all, the seven-day bombardment which preceded the 1st July 1916 assault on the German lines—the worst day in the history of the British army—could be heard in Kent and in Hampstead. Memoirs…

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