Photograph of a pram being used as a stretcher at the Somme during the First World War
1918 Audio tour
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This photograph from 1918 features a baby’s pram being used as a stretcher at the river Somme during the First World War. Most would associate the Somme with the 1916 campaign but this particular photograph dates from the lower-profiled Second Battle of the Somme in 1918.
The second Battle of the Somme was part of a successful range of counter attacks against the Central Powers following the 1918 Spring Offensive or Ludendorff Offensive. The German Spring Offensive marked the greatest gains in territory by either side since 1914 after many troops were brought back from the eastern front in 1918 after the Soviet Union surrendered, for one final, substantial attack against the western allies. An important note to highlight about this photograph is that many issues arose at this particular campaign, because much of the battle was fought over land which had been ravaged and destroyed at the Somme in 1916. This affected the ease of fighting for the troops, as well as supply and resource chains reaching the infantrymen, perhaps explaining the need to use a pram as a stretcher in spite of the British Red Cross' continued efforts through to the end of the war.
When looking at this photograph it is important to remember that by this time the USA had entered the war and fought in this particular Battle at the Somme in 1918. Although often-contended, I am of the opinion that without the influx of American troops in 1918 following US declaration of war against Germany, the British and French soldiers would not have won so easily, both in the 100 days offensive but the wider war in general; perhaps the offensive would not have led to the Armistice and it would not have been signed on the 11th of November 1918.
Audio recording by Jasmine Cazals (Volunteer), Birmingham.
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