Lanterns were placed on more than 400 First World War graves at Shorncliffe Military Ceremony, near Folkestone in Kent, on August 6th 2016 (Photo: Dr Stephen Summerfield)

'Light in the Darkest Hour' - Somme Centenary tribute at Shorncliffe

Posted on on 15 August 2016
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Hundreds of lanterns have been lit on First World War soldiers' graves at Shorncliffe Military Cemetery in the UK as part of continuing commemorations to mark the 141 days of the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

Shorncliffe camp, near the Channel port of Folkestone, was used as a staging post for British and Commonwealth troops on their way to the Western Front in 1914-18.

Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Shorncliffe Trust and the Canadian High Commission during the international ceremony on August 6th 2016.

More than 300 Canadians are among the 550 Great War dead commemorated at Shorncliffe, a reminder of the significant Canadian military presence on the coast of Southeast England a century ago.

There was a reading of a letter sent home by Ernest J. Priham before he went to the Somme as a field ambulance stretcher bearer with the 7th Canadian Cavalry. Live streaming allowed his descendants to watch the event.

The Shorncliffe Military Wives Choir sang John McCrae's poem In Flanders Fields, honouring a fallen Canadian comrade at the 2nd Battle of Ypres in May 1915.

The commemorative evening, entitled Light in the Darkest Hour - Hands across the Oceans, also included Australian and Belgian tributes.

Lieutenant Colonel Graham Price, of the Australian High Commission in London, read a report from the Battle of Pozières 100 years ago. He's pictured with Susan Law, Secretary of the Shorncliffe Trust (Photo: Dr Stephen Summerfield)

The Belgian Flag' - a patriotic poem written by Emile Cammaerts in 1917 - was recited by Françoise Scheepers of the Belgian Tourist Office.

The commemorations, hosted by the Shorncliffe Trust, formed part of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Living Memory Project, aimed at raising awareness of the memorials to the dead of both world wars at more than 12,000 sites in Britain.

The Royal British Legion's Somme 100 programme also supported the event.  

The Shorncliffe Trust is a heritage charity campaigning to protect the historic legacy of the Shorncliffe training grounds, which date from the Napoleonic wars.

Source: Shorncliffe Trust

Images courtesy of Dr Stephen Summerfield 

Posted by: CN Editorial Team