Battle of the Somme Centenary

Friday 1st July sees the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles in the history of the British Army. 

Downside’s contribution to the battle involved both Old Gregorians from the school and members of the monastic community serving as Military Chaplains. During the battle, which lasted until 18th November 1916, 19 Downside boys gave their lives, 3 of them dying on the opening day. 

Dom Urban Butler, Downside monk, was serving as chaplain to the 9th Cheshire Regiment and spent 3 days tending to the wounded in the basement of a chateau near the front line. He wrote to his mother on 7th July ‘the horrors of that place in which I have spent so many hours will live in my mind till my last day.’ 

To find out more about Downside’s contribution to the Battle of the Somme, visit our Tumblr page here.