Ceremonies mark Somme centenary
A day commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme takes place tomorrow (Friday) in Great Chart.
Two ceremonies will take place at the village’s St Mary’s Church with special guests including the Mayor of Ashford, Cllr George Kowaree, and Ashford MP Damian Green.
The Battle of the Somme, fought in Northern France, was the bloodiest of the First World War. For a gruelling 141 days, the British and French armies fought the Germans, with more than 57,000 casualties on its first day alone.
Seven soldiers from Great Chart lost their lives in that battle and there will be a flag for each of them on display at the memorial event.
Great Chart i s renowned f or i t s collection of First World War letters sent back to loved ones by men in the services During that terrible conflict. Some of these letters sent by soldiers will be read out during the service.
The commemoration will also host an exhibition of the letters written to Great Chart woman Elizabeth Quinton Strouts, who sent out almost 1,000 letters and 6,000 parcels to enlisted men from her village. They will remain in St Mary’s church for 141 days until November 18 to mark the length of the battle.
The first event - at 10am - will see children from five schools involved in a church service and laying wreaths at the War Memorial. A twominute silence will begin at the memorial at 11am, followed by a second service in the evening at 7.30pm.
Soldiers from the Lancashire Fusiliers on the Somme