Manchester

Battle of the Somme centenary concert in Manchester announced

British infantry in the Battle of Somme
Image caption The commemorative event will be held in Manchester in July

A national commemoration of the centenary of the Battle of the Somme is to be held in Manchester this summer, the government has announced.

The Somme was one of the bloodiest battles of World War One with more than one million casualties over 141 days.

Tickets have been released for the free 1 July concert at Heaton Park - which was used as a training ground for Somme-bound army recruits.

Manchester will also host a remembrance service, parade and heritage event.

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said: "The Battle of the Somme resulted in one million casualties on the Western Front and touched the lives of millions of families at home.

"We must never forget what happened at the Somme. I hope that people across the country take part in the range of events in Manchester to honour the memories of those who gave so much."

Image copyright Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Image caption The battle began on 1 July 1916 and lasted until 13 November

Manchester's commemorations include:

  • A parade of military and home front organisations marching through the centre of the city
  • A remembrance service at Manchester Cathedral shown live on big screens in nearby public areas
  • A free concert at Heaton Park featuring a national children's choir, film, dance, poems and Manchester's HallĂ© Orchestra
  • A specially commissioned poem will be read by author and University of Manchester chancellor Lemm Sissay
  • A World War One experience featuring more than 30 original bell tents. They will house experts and artefacts telling the stories of nurses, soldiers and factory workers

Manchester City Council's deputy leader Sue Murphy said:"Northern England was the heartland of the Pals' battalions throughout the First World War and was also at the centre of the huge industrial effort for the Somme.

"It is therefore fitting that the focal point of remembrance and opportunities for people to learn about and reflect further on the enormity of the events at the Somme should be in our city."

Image copyright Chris Radburn/PA
Image caption Wild poppies grow close to the Thiepval Memorial Monument in France which lists more than 72,000 British and Empire troops who lost their lives during the battle

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