The Big Push on the Somme in 1916 was greatly anticipated back in London. Its first physical manifestation, though, was the flow of wounded servicemen flooding back through the capital’s railway stations.
The flow of wounded from the Battle of the Somme began almost as soon as the battle itself, with trains full of casualties arriving in the first few days of July 1916. Hodgson Lobley’s painting captures the scene as the wounded from the battle arrived at Charing Cross.
A picture published in the Daily Mirror on 4 July suggests that the crowds were slightly less orderly, but also shows the interest taken by the crowd in the arrival of these casualties of war.
Pathe’s film archive also shows a similar arrival of wounded servicemen at Charing Cross, possibly also that summer.