Ninety nine years ago this morning the First Battle of the Somme (there were others) kicked off when the British and French armies tried to break the stalemate of trench warfare by advancing on the German positions between the towns of Albert and Bapaume in northern France.

By nightfall the British forces had lost 19,240 dead and nearly 40,000 injured. By the end of 1916 the allied forces had advanced 10km at a cost of 95,000 British, 51,000 French and 164,000 German dead.

The battle has been controversial ever since with the current revisionist thinking being that as German losses had been so large they were unable thereafter to regain the initiative leading to their inevitable surrender.