The shell was fired by a British battery on the first day of the Battle of the Somme
1st July 1916
The dinner gong gift was presented to the Lodge at the regular monthly meeting held on 7th January 1917.
The presentation was recorded in the Lodge minutes as seen below.
On July 1, 1916, the five month Battle of the Somme began with horrific results for the British Army, leaving 19,240 men dead on the battlefield and another 36,230 wounded on only the first day!
Known in Britain as The Battle of Albert (July 1 through July 13, 1916), the start to the Battle of the Somme was a portent of the slaughter to come.
With “only” 7000 total casualties the French do not remember this day as particularly noteworthy, lost in World War I, a war of many horrific days. Nor do the Germans consider July 1, 1916 an infamous day, suffering “only” 8000 total casualties.The British and French attacks were successful in places, but were later lost to German counterattacks.
The Battle of the Somme would grind on until November of 1916, by which time a million men had become casualties, with about 420,00 British (95,000+ killed), 200,000 (50,000+ killed) French, and perhaps as many as 500,000 Germans becoming killed or wounded (164,000+ killed, 38,000 captured).
The average allied advance during the 5 month long battle was only 6 miles, though of course British high ranking officers and some politicians called this a “victory.”
Realistically, the result was that the Germans were still near where they had been with a still strong defensive line, but a million men suffered death or injury.
Today, the shell/cartridge case is one of the most treasured artefacts belonging to the Eboracum Lodge No1611. It is regularly used in ceremonies performed by the Lodge and is also used the mark Remembrance Day.