Battle of the Somme: Commemorative events round-up

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A number of events are taking place in Northumberland in the coming days to remember those who gave their lives at the Battle of the Somme.

The 17 men from Upper Coquetdale who fell at the Battle of the Somme will be remembered tomorrow.

Two short acts of remembrance will be held at the war memorial in Rothbury to mark the centenary of the deadly offensive.

The start of the battle and its false optimism will be recalled in an act of remembrance at 8am, during which the flag of the Northumberland Fusiliers will be raised and a piper will play the troops into battle.

At 8pm, following the half-muffled ringing of the church bells, a second, more sombre ceremony will mark the tragic losses of the battle.

The names of those who fell from the valley will be read, the Regimental flag will be lowered, a lament played and prayers led by the Rector of Upper Coquetdale.

Those to lose their lives were Alfred Chisam; Henry George Clark; William Dawson; Phillip Downie; William Forster; Robert Gutherson; George Hately; Robert Hounam; James Frederick Hood; Thomas Murray; Francis Alexander McGregor; James McTear; Robert Henry Pringle; James Robert Richardson; James Scott Richardson; James Weallans Rutherford; and George Henry Hall Scott.

Everyone is invited to attend these acts of remembrance and it is hoped that relatives of those who died in the slaughter will be present. As part of the First World War commemorations, a book entitled The Valley Remembers has been published by the Upper Coquetdale WW1 Project.

The production team consisted of military researcher Duncan Glen, genealogist and local historian Freda Walker and Air Vice-Marshal (retired) Sandy Hunter, who was editor.

The book presents a picture of the war memorials in the area as they are today and attempts to get behind the names of some of those who served and fell.

It is hoped that it will offer a fitting memorial in itself to the losses of the community in those dark days. The book is available from All Saints Church and Phillips Newsagents, both Rothbury.

• A special commemorative service is being held to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

St Cuthbert’s and the Tyneside Scottish Association – in association with Northumberland County Council and West Bedlington Town Council – will hold the tribute in St Cuthbert’s, Bedlington, at 3pm on Sunday, July 10. It will be attended by Col Glenton, Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Northumberland and President of the TSA, representatives of the Church of England, county council and town council, veterans, cadets and representatives of local schools and organisations.

The City of Newcastle Pipe Band will lead a parade of the uniformed contingents to St Cuthbert’s from the council offices in Front Street at 2.30pm.

All are welcome to either view the parade or to attend the service. If attending the service, you must be in your seat by no later than 2.50pm, so that everyone is in place for the arrival of the parade.

Students from several local schools will be producing Battle of the Somme-themed work, which will be on display in St Cuthbert’s from Monday to Friday, July 8. There is no entry charge to this exhibition.

• An exhibition, featuring research on the men from the Amble area who fought in the First World War, with particular reference to the Battle of the Somme, is being staged in the town on Saturday. The Memories of Amble event will also boast a collection of medals, memories of Amble’s amateur footballers, an Amble Army Cadet Force display and information about the Coquet Shorebase.

There will also be a photographic display of the changing face of Amble and its people.

The event is being held in the Parish Hall, Dovecote Street, from 11am to 3.30pm, and entry is free.