Tour firm gives relatives of Northamptonshire soldiers who died in the Battle of the Somme the chance to visit graves

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Relatives of Northamptonshire soldiers who died on the bloodiest single day of the First World War are being offered an opportunity to visit the graves of their loved ones.

Thousands of Northamptonshire men were killed or wounded during the Battle of the Somme, a name that has become a byword for the suffering of a generation.

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On the first day of the battle – July 1, 1916 – more than 20,000 British soldiers lost their lives. It went down in history as the blackest day of the British Army.

And this year’s visit by Midlands-based Battlefield Memorial Tours will coincide with the centenary of the infamous battle that caused such a tragic loss of life.

Ypres was the scene of three great battles. The third, better known as Passchendaele, has come to symbolise the suffering and waste of trench warfare.

Battlefield Memorial Tours press spokesman John Phillpott said: “The Northamptonshire Regiment was involved right from the outset of the war. The county’s soldiers fought from the opening battles of Mons and the Marne right through to the Armistice in 1918.

“The men of the First Battalion fought heroically at Ypres in 1914 and later at Aubers Ridge. But their greatest sacrifice was undoubtedly on the Somme.”

The trip will also take in numerous other sites of interest on the former Western Front.

Mr Phillpott added “Battlefield Memorial Tours takes relatives to the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried. This special service is included in the price.”

The trip will run from June 29 to July 3. For more information, visit www.battlefieldmemorialtours.co.uk or contact Brian Long on 01629 650780.