It was the battle of all battles - the one in which 20,000 British soldiers died on the first day alone.
And among the fallen were 107 brave men from Sunderland who lost their lives in the opening day of the Battle of The Somme, 100 years ago today.
As Britain pays tribute to those heroic men, commemorations were being planned across the North East.
They include Murton man Tom Moreland who was today holding a memorial service for his grandfather - Northumberland Fusilier, Robert Christopher.
Robert was the only man at his gun battery post when it was hit by enemy artillery. His descendants will gather at the Murton War Memorial to pay tribute.
Elsewhere in today’s Echo, we remember the families back home who faced the nightmare of trying to survive after the deaths of their loved ones.
One widow, Mary Elizabeth Holmes of Back Nile Street in Sunderland, lost her husband Gunner John Porter Holmes who died of his wounds while serving with the 160th (Wearside) Brigade Royal Field Artillery.
Mary was left to bring up five children.
She had to bake bread and sell it for a penny a loaf on the streets to make ends meet.
Read more of her harrowing story - and the way she never forgot her hero husband - in today’s Wearside Echoes feature on pages 26 and 27.
July 1, 1916 was the bloodiest in the history of the British Army. A controversial decision to order British troops to walk slowly towards the German trenches left 20,000 dead and 60,000 injured.
It took just 15 minutes for some regiments to lose three quarters of their men.
By the end of the four-month battle in northern France, more than a million soldiers had been killed and wounded on both sides of the fighting.
The First World War would drag on for another two years.
The UK was due to fall silent for two minutes to remember the sacrifices of all those who fought and lost their lives.
The Queen and senior royals were due to lead the nation in commemoration by attending services in both the UK and France.
The Wearside soldiers who gave their lives were:
John Robert Adamson
John C Barrow
Arthur Osborne Bell
John William Bresnan
Edward Allport Brown
John Cummings Brydott
James William Burn
John George Corrigan
George F Downs
Albert George English
James R Gibbon
Francis Joseph Goodall
Robert Victor Graham
Edward Harper Jackson
John George Lawson
Robert William Lees
Anthony James McGeoch
Thomas Byers Mordall
John Frederick Pearson
Robert Newton Renton
Thomas Richardson 24th NF (Tyneside Irish)
Thomas Richardson 27th NF (Tyneside Irish)
John Telford Robinson
Robert Henry Robson
John William Rutter
Robert William Sanderson
John Edwin Simpson
Robert T Stephenson
James Todd Stewart
Herbert James Webster
George Edward O Wilson
William W Wilson
Charles Ernest Woods
Ernest W Wright
James William Young