Ceylon and the Somme

Suren Ratwatte
Tales from the Long War
5 min readJul 3, 2023

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July 1st always brings sombre memories for anyone interested in the Great War of 1914–1918, for that was the day the Battle of the Somme commenced. The largest planned offensive by the British Army, it was designed to pummel the German trenches into rubble during a week-long bombardment that used more than 1.7 million shells, followed by an infantry assault by 2.5 million Allied soldiers.

As we know, that first morning was a disaster. The British Army alone suffered 19,240 deaths amongst the 57,470 casualties. The lives lost included three young men from Ceylon. Part of the story of that…

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Suren Ratwatte
Tales from the Long War

I love airplanes and history. Trying to combine both interests in this blog, with stories of the old aircraft and the recollections of those who flew them.