The Battle of the Somme

The Battle of the Somme
Composer: Greg Smith
Performer: Greg Smith
Instrumentation: Piano
Product medium: MP3 download (25 tracks; 73:00)
Related products:
Full score (PDF download). 80 pages.

In 1916 France was struggling to fend off German occupation.
It had become apparent that to break the stalemate Britain may
need to increase its involvement in battle. Plans were made in
late 1915 by French commander Jospeh Joffre for coordinated
offensives on all fronts. On the western front, Joffre planned to
attack Picardy near the Somme river, which marked the boundary
between the French and British forces. However, by July 1916, the
French forces had weakened and the Somme offensive became a
primarily British battle.

The initial attack was made on 1 July 1916 at 7.30am. 100,000 men
from British forces went into battle on that day.19,240 British
troops died that day. The battle would continue for a one hundred
and forty-one days.

Geoffrey Malins and John McDowell, British army cinematographers,
filmed footage of the preparations and Battle of the Somme. The
live footage was recorded between 26 June and 8 July 1916. Some
shorted staged sequences were staged in later July.

The footage was first shown in London on 10 August 1916 at the
Scala Theatre and was publicly released 21 August.

This original score was created for a live Remembrance Day
Observance presented by the Teachers Sub-Branch of the RSL and
Australia’s Silent Film Festival on 12 November 2012.


Track Title Time Preview
1 Prelude – Preparatory Action 3:38
2 Industrious French peasants – Care of
artillery horses
3 4-7 inch guns 3:51
4 London Scottish and East Yorkshires troops 2:35
5 Firing plum puddings 2:16
6 Campsite of the Royal Warickshires 1:48
7 Havoc caused by Howitzers 1:25
8 A further moving up of troops 1:33
9 Flying pigs 1:25
10 Grandmother Howitzer 2:27
11 Lancaster Batalion 1:27
12 Attack 2:01
13 Further attack 5:50
14 Relief of Lancaster Battalion – troops
return with prisoners
15 Arrival of wounded and prisoners 4:09
16 Dressing station for the slightly wounded 2:15
17 German curtain fire 1:31
18 Clearing the battle fields – Routing the
Germans from dug outs
19 Effect of British shell fire on German
20 Aftermath 2:49
21 The battered German stronghold at Fricourt 4:18
22 Some of the booty – German trench mortors –
Captured field artillery
23 A welcome rest 1:40
24 Royal Fusiliers cleaning up 1:32
25 Washup – Roll call – Clear up – Seeking
further laurels – Less fortunate depart for England