Buglers to play as city marks 100 years since the Battle of the Somme
Buglers are set to sound across Leeds this summer in a poignant tribute to the brave soldiers who lost their lives a century ago at the Battle of the Somme.
The moving performances will be part of a programme of events to mark a hundred years since the start of the historic battle, which resulted in the worst losses of British Army personnel during the First World War.
On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, which began in France on the morning of July 1, 1916, it is said that every street in Leeds lost one man.
The battle included soldiers from Leeds serving with a number of units. In particular, the local volunteer battalion the Leeds Pals was hit especially hard.
Of the 750 members of The Leeds Pals who fought that day, just 72 were uninjured by nightfall.
Elsewhere on the day, units of the Leeds Rifles took part in action which led to Corporal George Sanders being awarded the Victoria Cross
As part of commemorations for the battle’s centenary, it is proposed that bugle players will be posted at a number of locations around the city to play a piece of music at 7.30am on July 1, the exact time when the first soldiers scaled the trench walls.
The locations for the buglers and the music they will play will be decided later this year.
As well as the buglers, an evening concert will take place at Leeds Town Hall on June 30 featuring a performance of The Armed Man by The Leeds festival Chorus, Leeds Philharmonic Chorus and the Manchester Camerata.
An exhibition curated by young people from around Leeds looking at the city during the First World War will also open at Leeds City Museum on June 30.
The Carriageworks Theatre will also host a new play called Leeds Lads about three of the Leeds Pals and their descendants.
At a meeting next week, members of Leeds City Council's executive board will be asked to approve the programme of events, which forms part of wider commemorations taking place across the country.
Last year, Leeds announced a range of events to commemorate the centenary of the First World Wa,r with a focus on enabling communities to pay tribute in their own way.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“The Battle of the Somme was a tragic and pivotal event not just in the First World War, but in the course of human history. It is only fitting that as a city, we pay tribute to the many courageous soldiers who lost their lives fighting for their country a century ago.
“When the bugles sound on July 1, it will be both a moment for solemn reflection and a reminder that we should never forget the tremendous sacrifices made on the battlefields of Europe and here on the home front.
“I hope this programme of events will go some way to expressing the depth of emotion and gratitude felt by the people of Leeds.”
To read a full copy of the executive board report, please visit: http://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/documents/s141758/Somme%202016%20Cover%20Report%20010216.pdf