Exhibition tells Somme story

The Mayor, Councillor Brian Bloomfield MBE and Councillor Tim Morrow, Chairman of the Council's Leisure & Community Development Committee are pictured with a WW1 stretcher and wounded soldier, attended by a QAIMNS (Queen Alexandra Imperial Nursing Society) nurse.

The Mayor, Councillor Brian Bloomfield MBE and Councillor Tim Morrow, Chairman of the Council's Leisure & Community Development Committee are pictured with a WW1 stretcher and wounded soldier, attended by a QAIMNS (Queen Alexandra Imperial Nursing Society) nurse.

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A new public exhibition has opened at the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council’s ‘The Somme, Our Story’ opened on July 1, 100 years to the day since the Battle of the Somme got under way.

The Mayor, Mayoress and Leisure and Community Development Committee Chairman, Councillor Tim Morrow, recently visited the exhibition.

Mayor, Councillor Brian Bloomfield, said: “This exhibition is largely about the local battalions of the Royal Irish Rifles, the 11th, South Antrims and 13th, County Downs, pals formations drawn from the territorially based Ulster Volunteer Force, which, formed in 1913 to resist Home Rule for Ireland, made up the 36th (Ulster) Division.

“The division famously ‘went over the top’ on July 1, 1916 and, at terrible cost, captured most of its objectives before being forced back to its start lines.

“The centenary of the Battle of the Somme provides an opportunity to remember the sacrifice of those who lost their lives and reflect upon the human cost of conflict.

“I was humbled during my recent visit to the Somme to view the graves of all the brave soldiers that valiantly gave their lives for the freedom of future generations and to lay wreaths on behalf of the Council to show our respect for their commitment and dedication.”

Councillor Morrow added: “It is great that the Council’s Museum has secured such an important collection of artefacts, photographs and memorabilia to illustrate this exhibition.

“‘The Somme, Our Story’ is about the men and women from Lisburn and Castlereagh who served in World War One and shows how their service impacted on their families back home.

“It also explores other contributions to the War, from the heroic work of the medical services to local industries manufacturing vital war materials.

“It is an informative free exhibition that can be appreciated by all ages.”