Thiepval Memorial on the Somme, with the graves of British and French soldiers in the foreground (Photo: Centenary News)

Somme Centenary 2016 - UK announces ballot for Thiepval tickets

Posted on on 01 July 2015
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The UK Government announced today that a ballot will be held for tickets to attend next year's commemorations in France marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

The event, organised jointly with France's Mission Centenaire, will take place at the Thiepval Memorial on July 1st 2016.

The public ballot will be launched on September 28th 2015. People will be able to enter online through a dedicated Somme 2016 Ballot website. 

You can also register now for updates - but this will not enter you for the ballot. 

Today's announcement comes as the 99th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme is being remembered at events in France.

Wreaths and poppies laid at Thiepval on July 1st 2014, the 98th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme (Photo: Centenary News)

The British offensive of 1916 was launched at 7.30am on July 1st after a week-long artillery barrage which failed to break the fortified German lines.

By the end of the opening day, 20,000 British soldiers had been killed and almost 40,000 others were wounded or missing.

More than 72,000 British and South African troops who have no known grave are remembered on the multiple arches of the Thiepval Memorial; the majority of them fell in the First World War offensive of July-November 1916.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has started major restoration works at Thiepval as part of the Somme Centenary preparations.

Tickets for this year's Gallipoli Centenary commemorations were balloted by the Australian and New Zealand Governments because of high demand and limited capacity at Anzac Cove.

Source: UK Government (Department for Culture, Media & Sport)

Images: Centenary News

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News