Parade to remember soldiers killed at Battle of the Somme

The sacrifice made by those who died in one of the First World War’s bloodiest conflicts has been remembered on Wearside.

A parade in memory of servicemen killed at the Battle of the Somme in 1916 was held in Sunderland city centre, with associations from around the UK travelling to take part in the event

Organised by historical group Hebburn Somme Association, those young and old marched from the city’s Civic Centre into the city centre.

The largest battle in the First World War, more than one million soldiers were either killed or injured in the battle over more than 140 days of fighting in France.

Its first day of conflict remains the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army and it was felt deeply at home, in particular in towns and villages which had raised Pals battalions and suffered horrible losses.

Organiser Derek Bramwell, of Hebburn Somme Association, said: “We have got associations from across the UK involved today including Northern Ireland, London, Leeds, Liverpool and Govan in Glasgow

We are here to honour the sacrifice and deeds of the UK’s fallen, which we are grateful for.

“The actual anniversary of the battle is on July 1 so this is in build up to that day

“When the battle took place obviously people here back home had no idea what had gone on until telegrams started to arrive.

“Some of the towns and villages were decimated in terms of men they had lost.

“We feel it’s our duty that we remember that sacrifice.”

Mr Bramwell added: “My great uncle John William Johnson was killed at the Somme but later in the war in 1918 when the Germans made their final push so there’s a personal connection for me.

“But the public seem to love the fact that we hold a parade and they tell us they thoroughly enjoy it.

“This area lost a lost of people during the battle, a lot of sons, brothers and fathers, and we won’t forget that.”

The parade began from outside Sunderland Civic Centre before journeying to the Cenotaph in Burdon Road where wreaths were laid and Abide With Me was played.

Those taking part then journeyed around the city centre.

Video is also available to watch at the below link.

Published on the 16th of June 2018
Article taken from the Sunderland Echo

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