Just before 7.30 on 1st July 1916 the heavy artillery barrage ceased after a week-long bombardment of the German lines. The mines under the German trenches were blown then whistles blew sending 100,000 soldiers across no-man’s land on a hot summer’s day. The German machines guns opened up and the slaughter began. At roll call that evening 40,000 men had been wounded and 20,000 killed. Amongst the dead were three Alumni of the Prep, young 2nd Lieutenants who had led their men into the fray. When the battle ended, 141 days later, 17 alumni of the Prep had been killed, 12 of them junior officers. On Friday morning we will be commemorating this event in Assembly.