Memorial to the Accrington Pals on the Somme, volunteer soldiers from Northwest England who suffered devastating losses after 'going over the top' on July 1st 1916 (Photo: Centenary News)

Somme Centenary - Update on UK national commemorations in Manchester

Posted on on 10 March 2016
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Tickets have been released for a free commemorative concert in Manchester on July 1st 2016 marking the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

The concert in Heaton Park, used as a military training ground in WW1, will close a day of UK national commemorations in Manchester remembering all those who fell on the Somme in 1916.

There will also be a parade through the city centre and remembrance service at Manchester Cathedral.

UK Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said: "The Battle of the Somme resulted in one million casualties on the Western Front and touched the lives of millions of families at home.  It is important that we provide as many ways as we can for the public to commemorate the bravery and sacrifices of our ancestors 100 years ago."

The Heaton Park event will include performances by Manchester's Hallé Orchestra and a children's choir, as well as readings from letters, poems and diaries. 

There will also be opportunities to explore further the impact of one of the costliest episodes of the Great War.

Bell tents

More than 30 original bell tents will house WW1 experts, activities and artefacts, aimed at bringing to life hundreds of stories of nurses, soldiers and factory workers from the Home and Western Fronts.

Heaton Park was used as a training ground for many of the recruits who enlisted together in the British Army's Pals' battalions, and saw their first major action on the Somme.

Manchester City Council's Deputy Leader, Sue Murphy, said: "Manchester is honoured to be hosting this important commemoration event on behalf of the nation. Like the rest of the country we fully acknowledge the debt we owe to those who fought for us at the Somme and are humbled still by their actions.

"Northern England was the heartland of the Pals’ battalions throughout the First World War and was also at the centre of the huge industrial effort for the Somme. It’s therefore fitting that the focal point of remembrance and opportunities for people to learn about and reflect further on the enormity of the events at the Somme should be in our city."

Summary of Manchester Somme commemorations:
*Somme 100 parade of military and home front organisations will march through the city centre, leaving Albert Square for Manchester Cathedral at 1pm.  
*Ceremony of remembrance at the Cenotaph, St Peter's Square, 1.10pm
*Remembrance service at Manchester Cathedral at 3pm - to be shown live on big screens in the public areas nearby.
*Free concert at Heaton Park at 7.30pm featuring a national children’s choir, film, dance and Manchester’s Hallé Orchestra - ticket booking information here

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said: "We must never forget what happened at the Somme. I hope that people across the country take part in the range of events in Manchester to honour the memories of those who gave so much."

Source: UK Government (Department for Culture, Media & Sport)

Images: Centenary News

Posted by: CN Editorial Team