Peter Hart studied at Liverpool University before becoming a director at the Imperial War Museum in London. As the museum's Oral Historian, he works frequently with war veterans recording their wartime experiences.
'For some reason nothing seemed to happen to us at first; we strolled along as though walking in a park. Then, suddenly, we were in the midst of a storm of machine-gun bullets and I saw men beginning to twirl round and fall in all kinds of curious ways'
On 1 July 1916, a continous line of British soldiers climbed out from the trenches of the Somme into No Man's Land and began to walk towards dug-in German troops armed with machine-guns. By the end of the day there were more than 60,000 British casualties - a third of them fatal.
Martin Middlebrook's now-classic account of the blackest day in the history of the British army draws on official sources from the time, and on the words of hundreds of survivors: normal men, many of them volunteers, who found themselves thrown into a scene of unparalleled tragedy and horror.