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The centenary of the Somme battles

30 June 2016 by Karen O'Rourke

old photo of a young man in uniform

Portrait photograph postcard of Private Harry Grace, King’s Regiment. Written on the reverse, ‘Signaller Harry Grace, Killed in France 1st July 1916, 18th Service K.L.R. “Pals” (2nd Batt).’ Private Harry Grace was a scoutmaster and prominent member of Richmond Baptist Youth Group. He was 19 when he was killed by a shell at the Somme.

One hundred years ago this week, on 1 July 1916, British Forces suffered their worst casualties ever in one single day. Communities all over Britain will come together on Friday 1 July to commemorate the anniversary of what is often called, ‘the bloodiest day in British military history’. At the Museum of Liverpool our latest exhibition First World War: Charity and Liverpool’s Home Front, looks at some of the organisations that were instrumental in helping both the casualties who came home from the war, and also the families of the men who did not.

That first day of the Somme saw 19,240 British men killed in action, a further 40,000 were wounded or taken prisoner. The British front line stretched from Gommecourt to Maricourt – around 18 miles of trenches. South of Maricourt, the French Army held the line. The battle was a tactical one, meant to divert German troops from a much larger battle, being fought against the French further east at Verdun.  Read more…

Lusitania families’ event

8 November 2013 by Ellie

RMS Lusitania at the Liverpool Landing Stage in 1907

MCR/25/117 Image courtesy of NML, image not copyright NML.

At this time of year we pause to remember the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts.

With that in mind, Merseyside Maritime Museum is continuing to work towards marking the centenary of the sinking of Liverpool’s most famous ship, ‘RMS Lusitania’, in 2015.

On the 7 May 1915, while en route to Liverpool, ‘Lusitania’ was torpedoed by the German U-boat U-20 off the Irish coast near the Old Head of Kinsale. She sank in just 18 minutes, and 1198 men, women and children perished. The sinking sent shockwaves around the world, but her loss was felt particularly keenly in Liverpool – where rioting broke out against German-owned businesses.  A large number of the crew had strong connections to the city and many families were devastated by the event. “Lusi”, as she was affectionately known in the city, was held high regard by local people and had been a familiar site at the Landing Stage since her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York in September 1907.

Each year Merseyside Maritime Museum marks the anniversary with a commemoration around our ‘Lusitania’ propeller, on the quayside across from the museum. Many of those who join us have family connections to those who were on board, and this year we met with people after the event to listen to their stories.

Lusitania propeller on the museum quayside

MMM.1989.159

On Friday 15th November we are hosting a follow-up event, and are hoping to see some familiar faces but also make new connections with local people who have family ties to ‘Lusitania’. If you, or someone you know, would like to come along then head for Learning Base 2, on the second floor of the museum, from 2pm.

If you would like more information then please email us at Lusitania@liverpoolmuseums.org.uk.



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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.