The road from Albert to Bapaume runs directly to the northeast. Topping a rise before descending into the Avoca Valley, it then starts its long steady climb past La Boisselle, close on the right, to the summit of the ridge at Pozières, nearly halfway to Bapaume its destination.
La Boisselle itself is on a small spur which reaches out into the valley. It was on this front that the 34th Division, as part of the III. Corps under the command of Lieut. General Sir W. P. Pulteney, was to advance on July 1st 1916, the opening of the British infantry assault of the Battle of the Somme.
On the front of the 34th Division two large and two small mines were ready to remove the heavily fortified German strong points which might be left in the enemy’s front line after the previous seven day bombardment by the British artillery.
Major General E.C. Ingouville Williams, who commanded the 34th Division, was confident that his men could thrust up Mash Valley to the left and, Sausage Valley to the right of La Boisselle, outflanking the village and driving what remained of the German Garrison into the guns of his troops manning the trenches at the south west entrance of the village. While the rest of his division would continue in their advance to Pozières and Contalmaison throughout the rest of the day.
In the front line, astride the road, was the 102nd (Tyneside Scottish) Brigade, with the 20th and 23rd N.F. (1st and 4th Tyneside Scottish) to the left and 21st and 23rd N.F. (2nd and 3rd Tyneside Scottish) to the right, alongside 101st Brigade, with its battalions, the 10th Lincolns (Grimsby Chums), the 11th Suffolks (Cambridge Pals) and 15th and 16th Royal Scots, on the right of the Divisional line. In support, on the Usna and Tara ridges a mile to the rear, was the 103rd (Tyneside Irish) Brigade, composed of the 24th, 25th, 26th and the 27th Battalions (1st – 2nd – 3rd – 4th Tyneside Irish), Northumberland Fusiliers.