Bugles to sound as Leeds commemorates the start of the Battle of the Somme
Buglers are set to sound across Leeds to commemorate the exact moment troops went over the trenches at the start of the Battle of the Somme 100 years ago.
The poignant tribute to the fallen will take place on July 1 at 7.30am and is part of a programme of commemorative events organised by Leeds City Council and a host of other organisations and groups across Leeds to mark the centenary of the battle.
The buglers will be stationed at a number of city centre locations, including the Victoria Gardens War Memorial, Civic Hall, the top of Briggate, Leeds Minster, Dortmund Square and City Square.
The gathering at the Victoria Gardens War Memorial will be attended by Cllr Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council. Also in attendance will be representatives from Leeds’s twin cities Lille and Siegen.
Buglers will also play at a number of locations outside the city centre include Bramley War Memorial, Morley Town Hall and Headingly Cenotaph.
The Battle of the Somme resulted in the worst losses of British Army personnel during the First World War, and was one of the bloodiest battles in human history.
The battle included soldiers from Leeds serving with a number of units. 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.
Corporal Sanders will be remembered at a civic event at Leeds Minster on July 1 from 10.30am where a commemorative paving stone will be unveiled in recognition of his extraordinary courage.
Last year, Leeds announced a range of events to commemorate the centenary of the First World War with a focus on enabling communities to pay tribute in their own way.
The city-wide programme of commemorative events started on June 5 and will run until late September.
It has also included exhibitions, plays, concerts, poetry readings, films screenings and talks, with many memorial services taking place locally. The events are taking place as part of wider commemorations across the country.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“The sounding of the bugles on the 1 July will mark the centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme, a pivotal point in our history where great sacrifices were made on the battlefields of Europe and here on the home front.
“I encourage residents of Leeds to take the opportunity to pay their respects and find out about the history of our city through these commemorative events.”
Leeds City Council will also be flying the Armed Forces Day flag on buildings including Leeds Civic Hall on July 1 as a mark of respect.
The full list of events can be found at www.leeds.gov.uk/Somme100