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Battle of the Somme (World War One)

28 Jun 2016

Our Subjects / Ā Mātou Kaupapa:

Where can I find information about the Battle of the Somme?

LEVEL: Intermediate / Secondary

The Battle of the Somme was a major British and allied offensive (attack) on the Western Front during World War One. The battle lasted several months and New Zealand troops become involved part way through. The 100th anniversary of the battle is in 2016, and we expect more information to be made available online over the next few months. 

The Long, Long Trail website is a great place to get a fairly detailed overview of the battle. We like this site as it has been created by an expert and has a very detailed 'about' page. To find the article from the homepage, choose 'battles', then 'France and Flanders: the Western Front' from the list, then scroll down a bit until you come to The Battles of the Somme, 1916. It's quite a long article so make sure to scroll all the way down. 

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand is great website for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable. To navigate to the information, search on 'world war one' in the white search box at the top of the page. A result should come up called 'First World War'. We then need to go to section 5 'Western Front, 1916 to 1917', scroll down a little way to find out the Battle of the Somme in context.

An excellent place to get more detailed information about New Zealand involvement in the battle is NZHistory. If we go all the way down the page we can see that the website also belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable. To find the Somme article choose 'New Zealand at war' from the three links under the main introduction. Next, choose 'First World War' from the options and then 'Battle of the Somme' in the Western Front section.

HOT TIP: A great way to identify reliable New Zealand government or educational sites is to look at their web address – they have either .govt or .ac at the end of the address. 

If you are interested in finding out more about the wider battle a good place to look would be the Imperial War Museum's website. Currently they have a section dedicated to the Somme, which can be found at the top right corner of the homepage. We don't know how long this option will remain but if it isn't there, choose 'War and Conflict' from the homepage and then 'First World War' from the options and have a look through the results this bring up. We like these articles as they are written by named experts who work at the museum. The most useful could be 'What was the Battle of the Somme?' and 'What happened on the first day of the Battle of the Somme?'. 

BBC History is an excellent place to find quality information about World War One and their detailed timeline of the battle is a really useful sourcve of information. 

If you still need more information, you can try searching World History in Context or Britannica School (select 'Secondary' from the home page'), electronic resources that can you can access through the EPIC databases. They include useful information on World War One, including the Battle of the Somme. To find the best information we suggest using the keywords 'Battle of the Somme'.

HOT TIP: To get to the EPIC databases you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or, you can log on to between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, and one of the librarians can help you online.

Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Another place to find out about the Battle of the Somme is in the Western Front area of Ngā Tapuwae New Zealand First World War Trails, which has been put together by the government. Mainly intended as a battlefield guide the app version of this site contains primary source material as well as background information. If you don't have a smart device like a mobile or a tablet there are PDFs of the information contained in the app that can be downloaded. To find these scroll right down the Western Front page until you see 'Explore the highlights' or 'Print the guides'.  

HOT TIP: The app can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.

Have a look at our Hot Topic about World War One for further information about the war.

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