The morning of Friday 1st July 2016 saw Hardwick residents gather at the war memorial in St Mary’s churchyard to commemorate the centenary of the commencement of the Battle of the Somme. At 7.30am, Trevor Bowman-Shaw blew three blasts on the whistle marking the precise time hostilities began. A minutes silence was observed giving time to reflect on this poignant reminder of the folly of European disunity.
The battle lasted until November 1916, one of the bloodiest in history with over 19000 British troops killed on the first day. In total there were over a million casualties. Almost half of these were British and French troops. The British troops came from all parts of the UK, few communities escaped some loss of their young men and it was later referred to as the Lost Generation.