As a part of the nation’s remembrance of the battle, Crewe Town Council, supported by the Crewe Branch of the Royal British Legion is inviting local residents to take part in its commemoration events.
On Thursday 30th June there will be a candlelit vigil at 9.30pm with readings and poems and a bugler, after which those attending will be asked if they have any family stories of relatives who were part of the battle.
The Battle began at 7.30am on 1st July 1916 and the Town Council welcomes residents to join them in a town wide commemorative act. At 7.30am on Friday 1st July, there will be a series of whistles and activities held to mark the Centenary in Crewe to signal the start of the attack from the allied trenches with whistles being sounded on Memorial Square, at Crewe Station and various points across Crewe. The Town Council would like to encourage local residents, schools and businesses to follow suit and to send in a photograph which will form a collage of remembrance. If you would like to take part, please email your picture to firstname.lastname@example.org before 12pm on Friday 1st July.
Also on Friday 1st July at 1.30pm, again on Memorial Square, Crewe school pupils will take part in an Act of Remembrance when they will walk onto the square, led by the Royal British Legion, carrying wooden crosses each bearing the name of one of the Crewe men who fell in the battle. These will be placed in the shape of a cross on one of the grassed areas while the names, ages, and where known, addresses of the men are read out. This will be followed by a short commemoration service after which, thanks to the co-operation of Cheshire East Council, those present will be invited into the Council Chamber of the Municipal Buildings.
The Battle of the Somme has come to symbolise the enormous losses dreadful conditions and the waste and futility of trench warfare. It began on 1 July and lasted four and a half months. At the start, most of the British Army were the inexperienced volunteers of Kitchener’s Army, many of them in the ‘PALS’ Battalions. There were almost 60,000 British and Imperial casualties on the first day of the battle, with nearly 20,000 killed. When the offensive finally came to a halt on 18 November 1916 the battle had claimed over a million casualties, 430,000 from Commonwealth countries, 195,000 French, 650,000 Germans. The Allied armies had gained 8km (5 miles) of ground.
Councillor Pam Minshall, Chair of the Councils World War One Working Group said ‘We formally invite all residents to join us if they are able to do so to remember the 87 men from Crewe who sadly fell during the Battle of the Somme.’