Harry, I echo your sentiment but my own view is that the tragic and wholly awesome aspect of the Northumberland Fusiliers efforts on 1st July was the advance to destruction into the unknown. 2/Middx and 23rd Bde on the same day were wiped out before reaching their objective..and their CO had predicted it but not shared his thoughts downwards (not sure what's worse). I think there are parallels with the 32nd Div and Thiepval Ridge after Day 1 - they and 38th at Mametz Wood knew what was coming.
As my late brother used to say, "There's nothing worse than your second parachute jump, mate".
Fair point Simon. It's impossible to disagree with most of what you say. I would add one point though. On 1st Jul there was a general feeling that it would be a "walkover." Some of the officers - Sandys is perhaps the best example but others like Reginald B-----d of the 2nd Lincolns had doubts about the message being filtered down from GHQ - but on the whole they left their trenches with, at worst, mixed feelings. Of course there was great anxiety but this, I think, was tempered somewhat because of the "erroneous propaganda" they had been subjected to beforehand.
Of course, it didn't take long before they realised the claims made were false but by then it was too late. What I'm trying to say is that the "Irish Geordies" and the soldiers of the Middlesex etc were a little more confident about the oucome of the attack than were the Welsh battalions at Mametz a week later. They knew what was waiting for them the moment they left their trenches and stepped into No Man's Land.
I'm not sure I understand what you mean when you say that Sandys "had predicted it (the disaster that befell his battalion) but not shared his thoughts downwards (not sure what's worse)". Worse than what?
He did, of course take his anxieties to those who had the power to do something about it but they wouldn't listen to him. What would he have achieved by filtering it downwards? He and his battalion had no other course of action available to them so to share his fears with his men or even just his officers would only have severely affected their morale. No CO would choose to do that especially in the hours preceding a major attack.