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30 June 2016

Battle of the Somme commemorated with Jersey stamps

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A commemorative sheet of stamps will be issued by Jersey Post on Friday 1 July to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

The sheet, which contains twenty self-adhesive UK Letter stamps, has been designed with a poignant background image showing the graves of British soldiers at The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme in Northern France.

The stamps are affixed to labels featuring a series of five photographs taken at the Somme. The photographs depict: British infantrymen on the march to the front lines, men of the Irish Rifles in support trenches waiting to move into the line at the Somme, British artillerymen firing an 8-inch Howitzer during the bombardment of German trenches on the first day, men going over the top and a column of troops making their way forward through what was once a forest.

The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, was a massive assault, starting 1 July 1916, on German defences near the Somme River in Northern France by combined British, Commonwealth and French forces. An attempt to break-out from stalemate into open warfare, poor planning and ineffective support by artillery fire meant that by the end of the first day alone the British had casualties of over 57,470 men, the heaviest ever suffered in a single day by the British Army. The offensive continued until 18 November, with little gain and an enormous loss of life on both sides.

“Of all of the battles of the Great War, the Somme Offensive has perhaps become most synonymous with the destruction, failure and futility that today so typifies the conflict,” comments Chris Elligott, Philatelic Production Coordinator at Jersey Post. “Jerseymen such as Clarence Percy Ahier of the Royal Artillery and members of the Jersey Company assimilated into the 7th Royal Irish Rifles were just a few of those embroiled in this infamous battle, including many who would never return.”

The Commemorative Sheets will be on sale from the Jersey post offices at Broad Street, St Helier and Rue Des Pres, St Saviour from issue day and can be ordered online now at www.jerseystamps.com or by contacting the Jersey Philatelic Bureau on: 00 44 (0)1534 516320.

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