1st July 1916 The Blackest Day. The 1st July 1916, the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, was the blackest day in the history of the British Army. 60,000 men became casualties on that one day alone. In this major new documentary, Emmy Award winning film maker Bob Carruthers returns to the battlefield on 1st July and retraces the events which unfolded on that disastrous day. Drawing extensively on rare film and photographs from both British and German sources, the spirit of the men who fought and died on that day is beautifully evoked by these powerful and haunting images from 1916. The film also reveals how the sacrifice of the men of the Somme is being honoured today by the work of the historians and enthusiasts who strive to increase our understanding of the battle and to commemorate the memory of that terrible day.