By 18 November 1916 the weather was deteriorating and, with the approach of
winter, the Somme offensive was closed down. But valuable lessons had been
learned and Kitchener’s NewArmies were now an experienced fighting force.
Despite its success in Romania that autumn, the German army was severely
weakened by its losses atVerdun and the Somme, and early in 1917 it withdrew
behind the recently constructed Siegfriedstellung (Hindenburg Line), so wrong-
footing the Allies’ plans to renew the attack in the spring. On 9 April 1917 the
British attacked, successfully, at Arras, but a week later the main French offensive
on the Aisne failed.
Sir Edward Lutyens’ Memorial to the Missing of the Somme atThiepval is the
largest Commonwealth Memorial to the Missing in the world. It commemorates
72,195 men who died at the Somme and have no known grave.This imposing
structure ensures that those who fought and died there will never be forgotten.
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