City will pause to remember Somme

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The Royal British Legion, in conjunction with Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, will hold a service to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme on July 1.

The service will be held at the War Memorial in Castle Gardens at 6.45am and will be conducted by the Rev Nicholas Dark, the Royal British Legion Lisburn Branch Padre.

The Battle of the Somme was fought at such terrible cost that it has come to symbolise the tragic futility of the First World War.

Its first day of conflict remains the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army and it was felt deeply at home.

Many of the soldiers who had signed up were everyday young men from close-knit communities across the UK who subsequently suffered horrible losses.

They were good friends, neighbours and colleagues who signed up together on the promise they would serve alongside each other. It sounded easy. These patriotic volunteers were sold on the romance of war, “Your Country Needs You”, and became known as the ‘Pals’ battalions.

The 100th anniversary provides an opportunity to commemorate the Service and sacrifice of those who lost their lives in the battle, to reflect upon the human cost of conflict and to have hope for a more peaceful world.

The local branch of the Royal British Legion would like to invite all people from the City to come along and pay their respects to all who made the supreme sacrifice.

The service will start at 6.45am at the War Memorial, then at 7am whistles will be sounded before the Last Post and a lament by the Piper.

Wreaths will be laid by the President of the Royal British Legion and the City Council. Anyone wishing to lay wreaths or place poppy crosses to remember their families are more than welcome to do so.

After the service the City Council will lay on light refreshments in the Royal British Legion in Sackville Street.

A service of remembrance will also be held in Thiepval Barracks on July 1.

Troops will muster on the morning at the Somme Memorial in the Lisburn barracks for an ecumenical service led by the Senior Chaprlain to 38 (Irish) Brigade Reverent Alexander Bennett.