UK falls silent as people mark the Battle of the Somme's 100-year anniversary


The nation has fallen silent to honour thousands of soldiers killed in the Battle of the Somme 100 years after the bloodiest day in British military history.

Ceremonies across the United Kingdom honoured the hundreds of thousands of victims of the brutal offensive which started in northern France on July 1 1916.

The two-minute silence ended at 7.30am, the time when the British, Commonwealth and French forces went "over the top" a century ago.

The British Army suffered almost 60,000 casualties on the first day alone and more than a million men would be killed or wounded on both sides over the course of the 141-day offensive.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attend part of a military-led vigil (Yui Mok/PA)

The silence came after a night-long vigil led in Britain by the Queen and at the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, which towers over the rolling Picardy fields where so many fell.

Senior royals including the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, will join Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande and other leaders at the memorial later for a service of remembrance in front of an audience of 10,000.