Empty shell dump, July 1916.

The dump contains empty 18-pounder shell cases and their boxes. The shells were used during the bombardment of Fricourt. Prior to their attack on the Somme on 1 July 1916 the Allies fired over 1.5 million shells during a week-long preliminary bombardment of the German lines Unfortunately around two-thirds of the shells were shrapnel, which threw out steel balls when they exploded. These were devastating against troops in the open, but largely ineffective against concrete dugouts and the men sheltering in them. Furthermore, it has been estimated that as many as 30 per cent of the shells failed to explode. As a result the German defences were not destroyed and in many places the wire remained uncut.From a box of 50 lantern slides. Lantern slide, World War One, Western Front (1914-1918), 1916.