Friday 24 June 2016

FindMyPast to mark Somme centenary with free access

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, FindMyPast will be giving free access to its World collection of 65million military records. This free access will run from Monday 27 June at 9am to Monday 4 July. I'll be back with more details after the weekend (see subsequent blogpost).

The WW1 Battle was a major event in the history of the island. Among the dead were more than 3,500 Irish soldiers (the figures are not certain) and many additional thousands were physically injured or mentally scarred from their experiences.

On the first day alone, the 36th Ulster Division suffered 5,500 casualties, all of them Protestants, including 2,069 soldiers killed. Two months later, as the Battle continued with another British offensive, some 1,200 men from the mainly Irish Catholic 16th Division were killed and 3,100 injured, nearly all of them coming from the other three provinces of Ireland.

Before you start digging into FindMyPast's collection for your own family's military history, you might like to read a more detailed account of the Battle of the Somme and its legacy across the island. A good factual overview can be found on the Department of the Taoiseach's website, together with a useful list of the Irish Regiments and their recruiting areas.