Remembering the brave Pals who fell at the Somme

Ex-Mayor of South Ribble, councillor Mary Green, at the South Ribble war memorial
Ex-Mayor of South Ribble, councillor Mary Green, at the South Ribble war memorial
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Lancashire was set to fall silent on Friday to mark the 100th anniversary of one of the bloodiest battles in history.

A two-minute pause was due to be observed across the nation at just before 7.30am, the exact moment a century ago that thousands of brave soldiers went “over the top” to the their deaths at the Somme.

Services were also taking place on the First World War battlefields in Northern France to honour the fallen, many of them Lancashire “Tommies” who fought and died alongside the friends they had joined up with.

Preston had no official remembrance event – the city’s Pals battalion escaped the horror of that first day of battle because their attack was cancelled in the afternoon due to the carnage of that first morning.

But other towns, including Chorley, Clitheroe and Accrington, which all suffered heavy losses in a battle which claimed 58,000 casualties on its first day, were planning to mark the anniversary either Friday or over the weekend.

South Ribble’s war memorial in Lostock Hall will see 103 clay poppies planted – one for each of the borough’s soldiers who died at the Somme. The flowers have all been made by Year Seven pupils at Lostock Hall Academy.

Ribble Valley Mayor Coun Joyce Holgate was due to lead a silent vigil next to Statue of the Unknown Soldier at Clitheroe Castle at 7.30am.

Lancashire’s biggest service of remembrance is being held at Blackburn Cathedral on Sunday, the same day as a service at St Thomas’s Church, Garstang (6.30pm).

And soldiers from 3 Medical Regiment are planning to march through Chorley on Saturday from 11am to remember the Chorley Pals who were killed at the Somme.