Special Portadown events to mark Somme anniversary

Soldiers at the Battle of the Somme
Soldiers at the Battle of the Somme

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

The early-morning event is a joint venture between the Portadown No 1 Orange District and the town’s branch of the Royal British Legion.

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

Whistles will sound 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 will be a wreath-laying and drum head ceremony to remember The Fallen.

The Lord Lieutenant of Armagh Lord Caledon will conduct the proceedings, and will unveil 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.

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