Royals pay trib­ute to Somme dead

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

LON­DON: Sol­diers, politi­cians, roy­alty and or­di­nary cit­i­zens stood in si­lence, heads bowed, in cer­e­monies across Bri­tain and France to com­mem­o­rate the 100th an­niver­sary of the start of the Bat­tle of the Somme, one of the blood­i­est bat­tles in his­tory.

The dev­as­tat­ing World War I clash be­gan on July 1, 1916, along a 24 km front near the River Somme in north­ern France, where Bri­tish and French forces hoped to win a de­ci­sive vic­tory against Ger­many.

Around 20 000 Bri­tish sol­diers died on the first day alone to cap­ture just a few square miles of ter­ri­tory. By the end of the bat­tle in Novem­ber more than one mil­lion men had per­ished and the al­lies had ad­vanced just 11km.

At the Thiep­val Me­mo­rial to the Miss­ing in France, mem­bers of the Bri­tish royal fam­ily joined Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron and French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande for a spe­cial ser­vice of re­mem­brance.

Si­lent ac­tors dressed as Bri­tish World War I troops also ap­peared in pub­lic squares, stand­ing ex­pres­sion­less and rep­re­sent­ing sol­diers killed in the Bat­tle of the Somme.

At Lon­don’s Water­loo train sta­tion, the ac­tors handed out cards bear­ing the name, age, rank and mil­i­tary unit of the slain sol­dier they rep­re­sented. – Reuters

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

Camilla, Duchess of Corn­wall, Bri­tain’s Prince Wil­liam, his wife Cather­ine, the Duchess of Cam­bridge and Prince Harry at­tend a cer­e­mony to mark the 100th an­niver­sary of the start of the Bat­tle of the Somme, yes­ter­day.

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