Serre Road Commonwealth Cemetery No. 1 on the Somme (Photo: Centenary News)

Centenary News update on Somme 2016 ticket ballot

Posted on on 02 July 2015
Share |

The UK Government says 8,000 tickets will be balloted for next year's commemorations at Thiepval marking the Battle of the Somme Centenary.

The online ballot will open to residents of the UK, France and Ireland on September 28th 2015.

Tickets for the event on July 1st 2016 will be free of charge and allocated in pairs.

Plans are being made to broadcast the Thiepval Memorial ceremony live to big screens in towns across the Somme region and the UK.

There will also be a wide programme of events accompanying the Centenary in Britain and France.

Commemorations are held every year at Thiepval, on the anniversary of the start of the 1916 battle, to remember all those who fell in the four-month British offensive.

But the centenary event, organised jointly by the UK Government and France's Mission Centenaire, will be on a larger scale and is expected to attract strong public interest.

The Thiepval Memorial remembers more than 72,000 British and South African soldiers who fell on the Somme, and have no known grave. It also serves as a tribute to the alliance between British and French forces (Photo: Centenary News).

Britain's Secretary of State for Culture, John Whittingdale, said: "The tragic events at the Battle of the Somme left a deep mark on a huge scale - nearly everyone in the UK will have an ancestor who fought or died at the Somme. It’s important that people across the UK have the chance to remember and honour these brave soldiers.

"The centenary event will be an opportunity to not only pay tribute to those that sacrificed so much but to ensure that their legacy continues for generations.

"I am grateful to our French partners for working with us to commemorate the extensive loss on all sides on what will be an incredibly important and deeply moving event.

Mr Whittingdale's words were echoed by the French defence minister responsible for veterans, Jean-Marc Todeschini.

"A hundred years ago, our country was a global battlefield to which the Commonwealth nations, in a rush of comradeship, sent hundreds of thousands of their children," Mr Todeschini said.

"A hundred years later, the Somme is still exposing its scars, left by the bitter fighting between 1916 and 1918, and its places of remembrance that bear witness to France’s gratitude to the British soldiers who sacrificed their lives for her.

"Yesterday a land of suffering, today a land of shared remembrance, Thiepval, on 1 July 2016, will see a new expression of the friendship between France and Britain."

To register for updates on the centenary ticket ballot, and for more information about the Battle of the Somme, visit the Somme 2016 website. 

Source: UK Government

Images: Centenary News

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News