Moving service to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme

The names of the local fallen are read out during Friday's early morning 100th anniversary Somme commemoration ceremony in the Town Centre. INPT27-203.

The names of the local fallen are read out during Friday's early morning 100th anniversary Somme commemoration ceremony in the Town Centre. INPT27-203.

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A special event to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme was held in Portadown this morning.

Two special events to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme are being held in Portadown today (Friday, July 1) – the first at 7am and the second at 7pm.

Starting at 7am the event was a joint venture between the Portadown No 1 Orange District and the town’s branch of the Royal British Legion.

Both groups paraded to the War Memorial, the Orange Order leaving from Carleton Street at 6.50am and the Legion from their Thomas Street HQ.

Whistles were sounded at 7am to re-enact the ‘over the top’ charge at The Somme by the 36th Division, the prelude to the worst slaughter in the history of the British Army.

There was a wreath-laying and drum head ceremony to remember The Fallen. The Lord Lieutenant of Armagh Lord Caledon conducted the proceedings, and unveiled a new memorial to Lieutenant Geoffrey Cather VC, who was killed under heavy fire as he rescued and tended the wounded. He gained the posthumous Victoria Cross for his actions - it is displayed at the Regimental Museum of The Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Later tonight, there is a special service of remembrance at St Mark’s Church of Ireland, starting at 7pm, conducted by Rev John Pickering.