The Mayor was joined by Councillor Alan Martin, Councillor Nancy Eaton and Chief Executive, David Burns to commemorate what was one of the largest and bloodiest battles of the First World War (1914-18).  They attended Battle of the Somme memorials and remembrance services in France & Belgium, paying their respects to those soldiers who were killed in action.

Monday 1st July began with a visit to Martinsart Cemetery to remember 10 men from Hillsborough who lost their lives when hit by a German artillery shell on 28 June 1916.  

The delegation at the graves in Martinsart Cemetery

Thereafter, a wreath dedicated to the Missing was laid at a Service of Remembrance at the Thiepval Memorial.  This memorial commemorates 72,337 missing servicemen who died in the Somme region between 1915 and 1918, with no known grave.

Our delegation at the Service of Remembrance at The Thiepval Memorial

The delegation then attended two Somme Association remembrance services at the Ulster Tower Memorial near Thiepval and the 16th (Irish) Division Memorial in Guillemont. 

The 36th (Ulster) Division Tower is Northern Ireland’s National War Memorial, built to commemorate the fallen of 36th Ulster Division and any other Ulstermen who served in the First World War.  The Ulster Division suffered huge losses at the Somme on 1st July 1916, with over 5,000 casualties and at least 2,000 men dead on that first day of attack alone.  The memorial’s design is a replica of Helen’s Tower at Clandeboye, recognising Clandeboye as the training camp for those newly recruited volunteers following the outbreak of war. 

We laid a wreath in memory of those who lost their lives serving in the 36th (Ulster) Division in a service at the Ulster Memorial Tower

The 16th (Irish) Division was involved in fighting in Guillemont and Ginchy and suffered over 4,000 casualties when capturing both these towns.

Respects are paid at the 16th (Irish) Division Memorial in Guillemont

On 2nd July, the party started the day with a tour, by the Somme Association, of preserved trenches in Thiepval Wood.  Thereafter, the party travelled to Belgium and the Island of Ireland Peace Park at Messines to remember those from this island who died, were wounded or reported missing during WWI.  

The council delegation at the preserved trenches in Thiepval Wood


The fallen are remembered at Irish Peace Tower within the Island of Ireland Peace Park

The commemorative trip concluded with the Menin Gate Remembrance Service where a wreath was laid on behalf of the council to remember the Missing British and Commonwealth soldiers whose graves are also unknown.  

A wreath was laid by Mayor Dickson to remember the lost British and Commonwealth soldiers

The names of 54,389 soldiers from Commonwealth Forces who fell in the Ypres Salient before 16 August 1917 with no known grave are listed on this memorial.

                                                                                          Lest we forget.