Europe

100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme

Updated 1344 GMT (2144 HKT) July 1, 2016
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French soldiers stand in line during the Somme Centenary Commemorative Service at Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on Friday, July 1. It is 100 years since the Battle of the Somme took place, in which French and British armies fought the Germans during World War I. A series of major ceremonies are planned across Europe. Phil Noble/Getty Images
French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry attend the service at Thiepval. Chris Radburn/PA/Getty Images
Prince Charles, French President Francois Hollande, Irish President Michael D Higgins, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry are seen are pictured at the Thiepval Memorial where 70,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers with no known grave are commemorated. Pool/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
Britain's Prince William delivers a speech during a commemoration ceremony at the Thiepval Memorial. The battle was the deadliest in British history, in which 20,000 men died on the first day of combat alone. In a foreword for the Somme Centenary Commemorative Service program, he wrote: "It is truly terrifying to imagine the destruction wrought across this landscape 100 years ago today. However, we now return to the battlefield in a spirit of reconciliation and respect." FRANCOIS NASCIMBENI/AFP/Getty Images
Visitors to the Thiepval Museum pass artificial poppies planted at the entrance to the museum with handwritten messages of commemoration to those who died at the Battle of the Somme. Chris Radburn/PA/Getty Images
Members of the Irish Guards are seen during the Battle of the Somme centenary commemoration service in Thiepval. Chris Radburn/PA/Getty Images
Attendees are seen among the illuminated graves of the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. Pool/Getty Images
At dusk a man is seen among the military graves at the Thiepval Memorial. Pool/Getty Images
British Military personnel stand at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior during an overnight vigil to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme at Westminster Abbey in London, England. The Grave of the Unknown Warrior contains the body of an unidentified British solider from World War I buried in French soil and covered with a Belgian marble slab. Jack Taylor/Getty Images
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II lays a wreath of roses and bay leaves on the Grave of the Unknown Warrior during the commemoration service on the eve of the centenary of the Battle of the Somme at Westminster Abbey in London, on the evening of June 30. The overnight vigil is the first to be held in the Abbey since peace vigils for the Cuban Missile Crisis over 50 years ago. The vigil is part of a program of centenary events being held in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and at Thiepval in northern France. NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
An abbey marshal poses next to "The Grave of the Unknown Warrior" in London's Westminster Abbey. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
A statue of a British soldier stands near Albert, France, a town located within a few miles of the frontline of the The Battle of the Somme. The battle began just before 7:30 on the morning of July 1, 1916, and it became known as the British Army's bloodiest day, resulting in 57,470 British casualties. Matt Cardy/Getty Images
A still from the film, "The Battle of the Somme," shows a British soldier carrying a wounded comrade back from the front line. The scene is generally accepted as having been filmed on the first day of the battle on July 1, 1916. The film and film stills are part of the Imperial War Museum's collections, and the film is featured in IWM London's new exhibition, "Real to Reel: A Century of War Movies." Courtesy Imperial War Museum
A still from the film, "The Battle of the Somme," sequence 31,"The Attack" is seen from the Imperial War Museum's collections. The film is on view at IWM London's exhibition, "Real to Reel: A Century of War Movies," through January 8, 2017. Courtesy Imperial War Museum
British Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, left, is seen with Sir George Dixon Grahame, center, and Admiral David Beatty in Brussels, Belgium in 1919. Haig was criticized for his controversial handling of the Battle of the Somme in 1916, where so many British lives were lost. Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
A view of the six holders of the Victoria Cross and survivors of the Battle of the Somme are seen in London around 1950. Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Archive photos of World War I soldiers are displayed at the Thiepval Memorial Visitor Center, which opened a new exhibition space on June 3 ahead of the centenary commemoration services. Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images
On exhibition at the new extension of the Thiepval Memorial Visitor Center is an installation of battle artifacts and a 60-meter-long illustrated panorama by Joe Sacco titled, "The Great War, the first day of the Battle of the Somme." Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images
The late-evening sun illuminates the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme near Albert, France, on May 16. The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and unveiled in 1932. Matt Cardy/Getty Images
An aerial photo taken on June 10 shows the World War I Munich Trench cemetery in Thiepval, France. The cemetery is one of many that dot the vast landscape, containing graves of soldiers who died during the Battle of the Somme. AP
A sign marks the hidden dangers of undetonated explosives where the outline of trenches can still be seen at Newfoundland Memorial Park in Beaumont-Hamel, France. Matt Cardy/Getty Images
The names of the fallen are carved into stone in the Pozieres British Cemetery near Albert, France. Matt Cardy/Getty Images