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Acclaimed historian to deliver talk on Battle of the Somme

20 June 2016

Local historian Philip Orr will deliver a talk at the Tower Museum this Thursday 23 June on the role of the 36th (Ulster) Division during the infamous Battle of the Somme.

With the centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme just days away, Philip Orr, author of ‘The Road To The Somme’, the classic study of the Ulster Division, will discuss the traumatic experience of the Ulster men who went ‘over the top’ on July 1.

Speaking ahead of the event, he outlined the challenges faced by the local troops. “The 36th (Ulster) Division was made up of men from across the province and trained at locations across the North West during the course of the First World War, including at Finner Camp in Donegal.

“In the winter of 1915 and 1916 Brigades of men were attached to lines in the Somme area and by mid-March were preparing for the ‘Big Push’ in the summer of 1916. The advance in July saw thousands of men trying to take back control of the area around Thiepval but over 5,500 of the Ulster Division were killed, wounded or taken prisoner in the opening days of the attack.”

In his acclaimed book, Philip Orr interviewed veterans of the battle to paint a vivid picture of the reality of the conflict. Their voices and those of friends of family expose the reality of war and the impact of the battle on communities across NI.

In this engaging talk, Philip will discuss the personal stories of men of the Ulster Division on the Somme and the continued legacy of the battle in society today. The talk takes place at the Tower Museum on Thursday 23 June at 7pm and admission is free.

The talk is the latest in a series of events as part of the Tower Museum’s Remembering 1916 programme delivered in partnership with Nerve Centre.


For more information please contact Niall Kerr, [email protected], 028 7126 0562 or Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Marketing and Communications department, Tel: 02871 376504.