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Britain, France mark 100 years since bloodiest WWI battle

The graves of World War I British soldiers during a ceremony to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, in Thiepval, northern France on June 30, 2016With a cannon blast and a piercing whistle, Britain and France on Friday marked 100 years since soldiers emerged from their trenches to begin one of the bloodiest battles of World War I at the River Somme. Under grey skies, unlike the clear sunny day that saw the biggest slaughter in British military history a century ago, the commemoration kicked off at the deep Lochnagar crater, created by the blast of mines placed under German positions two minutes before the attack began at 7:30 am on July 1, 1916. A lone piper walked around the edge of the crater at the ceremony, to be followed by a main event attended by the British royal family and Prime Minister David Cameron, as well as French President Francois Hollande and former German president Horst Koehler.

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