What has notably been named as one of the Bloodiest Battles in the History of the British Army, The Battle of Somme was fought from 1st July to 18th November 1916 . This war was fought between the British and the French army on one side and the German army on the other. It is believed that over one million people were killed or wounded in this battle; around 19, 250 men died on one day alone; turning the battlefield into a river of blood. The battle is notable for the importance of air power and the first use of the tank.
Today, on the 1st of July, Manchester commemorated a 100 years since that dreadful day which snatched many sons, husbands, brothers and fathers from the people of Britain . All over the UK various services and parades were held marking a hundred years of the battle. In Manchester, the Service commenced by laying wreaths in St. Peter’s Square, followed by a parade from Albert Square to Manchester Cathedral where another memorial service was to take place in the evening. Friends and families of those who had fought and lost a lot in the battle, were given the opportunity to make their personalised remembrances which would then be put together and finally offered at the Heaton Park Memorial . Heaton Park used to serve as a military training ground in those days; thus it would deem fit for the remembrances to be laid down there.
The service at St Peter’s Square started at 1:30 pm. It was attended by George Osborne, Lord Mayor of Manchester – Carl Austin- Behan, Bishop of Manchester – Revd David Walker, Royal British Legion Chaplain- Rt. Revd. James Newcome , Bishop of Salford – Rt Revd, John Arnold . dignitaries from various consulates and a military band. Gun Fires marked and concluded a two minutes silence for the event. The event was live streamed by the BBC.
Thereafter a small parade was organised which originated from the Town Hall and concluded in Manchester Cathedral. Not only was the military and the brass bands a part of this parade; but also those whose descendants fought in the war took part in it.
The Battle of Somme indeed formed a part of the horrific and dark history of the British Army.Nevertheless, one cannot forget that those who laid down their lives did so to bring glory to their nation and a better future for the next generation. Thus,we must always salute their courage and bravery and uphold their strong ideals of patriotism and nationalism .