Lancashire honours Somme heroes

Photo Neil Cross
The 1916-2016 Commemoration of the Somme at the South Ribble Memorial, Lostock Hall
Declan Worden whose Great Grandfather Gilbert Wright died in the war
Photo Neil Cross The 1916-2016 Commemoration of the Somme at the South Ribble Memorial, Lostock Hall Declan Worden whose Great Grandfather Gilbert Wright died in the war
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No-one alive can remember the local heroes who died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, yet they will never be forgotten.

Exactly 100 years on from the moment those brave soldiers went over the top, services were held in both Britain and France to honour the fallen.

And nowhere, apart from on the battlefields themselves, was the grief more acutely felt than in Lancashire where towns lost a generation of young men on the bloodiest day in British military history.

South Ribble’s striking war memorial, only opened last year, was the scene of a moving ceremony to mark the sacrifice that local troops made at the Somme.

Inspired by the famous Tower of London poppy project, 103 of the flowers made by schoolchildren out of clay, were planted in tribute to the borough’s Somme dead - one for each man killed. The poppies formed a poignant backdrop to a remembrance service at 11am yesterday at the memorial in Lostock Hall. Each flower was painstakingly crafted by a Year 7 pupil at Lostock Hall Academy.

“Amazingly there are 103 pupils in year seven, exactly the same as the number of men killed,” said Janine Murray, the school’s head of art. “The timing couldn’t have been better because year seven have been learning about the Battle of the Somme.

“Some of them didn’t realise just how many men were killed, but when we put all the poppies together it was very powerful and poignant to know that each one represented a lost soldier.”

Elsewhere across the county people stood in silent tribute to the thousands who died on that first day of a battle which would rage on for 141 days.

And people in Chorley have been urged to line the streets today as troops from 3 Medical Regiment march through the town.

l More photos on Monday.