News

July 1st 2016

Commemorating the Battle of the Somme in Nottingham

Young people from Nottinghamshire Army Cadet Force joined service personnel, dignitaries and council employees at the event

Service personnel joined civic dignitaries, cadet organisations, veteran associations and council employees to commemorate the Battle of the Somme at an event held at County Hall, Nottingham today (1 July).

The Somme Commemoration event was held 100 years to the day since young men from Nottinghamshire were engaged in one of the bloodiest land battles in the history of the British Army.

The personnel from 65 Works Group Royal Engineers, 170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group, made up of a mixture of regular and reservist soldiers, formed a saluting party at the event.

Service personnel at the Battle of the Somme Commemoration event at County Hall

Service personnel at the Battle of the Somme Commemoration event at County Hall

Captain Darren Herd, Training Officer at 65 Works Group, took part in the event. He said: “The event organised by Nottinghamshire County Council took place outside County Hall. It was an opportunity to pay tribute to those that sacrificed so much whilst also ensuring that their legacy continues for generations.”

The event began with the County Council Choir singing ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’, before Councillor Ian Campbell, Nottinghamshire County Council’s Armed Forces Champion, reading ‘the short but terrible rush’ an extract from the diary of Private William Roberts who lost his life at Etrun, Pas-de-Calais in June 1917 aged just 23.

Attendees joined together in prayer during the event to remember the largest battle of World War One on the Western Front, where more than one million men were wounded or killed. The Venerable, Air Vice Marshal, Robin Turner CB DL RAF Retd led the service and prayers.

Whistles were blown to signify ‘going over the top’ in battle, before those gathered took part in two minutes of silence.

Battle of the Somme event at County Hall in Nottingham

Battle of the Somme event at County Hall in Nottingham

Simon Worsley, Deputy Chief Executive at East Midlands Reserve Forces and Cadets Association attended the event. He said: “It is difficult from our perspective to comprehend the huge loss of life during the Great War and specifically the Battle of the Somme, with few families in this country and in Germany untouched by the sacrifice of the vast legions of predominantly young men who were loyally serving their country.

“The sacrifice extended far beyond the borders of the United Kingdom, with soldiers coming from across the British Empire and beyond, to serve – both my Grandfathers fought in the Great War, one came from Argentina and the other from Canada, both survived although one lost a leg at Vimy Ridge.

“This is not a celebration of a great battle but a commemoration of the dedication, loyalty and courage of the hundreds of thousands of young men from nations across the globe that endured the maelstrom that was the Somme.”

Young people and adult volunteers from Nottinghamshire Army Cadet Force were also represented at the event.

“This is not a celebration of a great battle but a commemoration of the dedication, loyalty and courage of the hundreds of thousands of young men from nations across the globe that endured the maelstrom that was the Somme.”