Wolverhampton will remember those who fought and died in one of the bloodiest battles in history as the nation marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme on Friday (1 July, 2016).

The Royal British Legion's City of Wolverhampton Central Branch and The Ex-Service Council will be holding a service of remembrance at the Cenotaph, St Peter's Square, starting at 11.30am.

The service will begin with a parade of standards followed by prayers, the Kohima epitaph, Royal British Legion exhortation and a two minute silence. All are welcome.

The Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Barry Findlay, who will be laying a wreath during the service, said: "The Battle of the Somme has come to symbolise the tragic futility of the First World War.

"It was fought at such terrible cost - some 19,240 men lost their lives in the first 24 hours of the battle alone, and 1 July, 1916 remains the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army.

"A century on, Friday's service gives us the opportunity to reflect upon the human cost of conflict and commemorate the sacrifice of those who lost their lives in the Battle of the Somme, the First World War and other conflicts, past and present."

The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, was the largest battle of the First World War. Fought by the armies of the British and French empires against the German Empire, the battle began on 1 July, 1916, on the upper reaches of the River Somme in France. By its end on 18 November, 1916, more than 1 million men had either been wounded or killed.

Lyndon Purnell, chair of the Royal British Legion's City of Wolverhampton Central Branch, said: "We're hoping that as many people as possible will come along and take part in Friday's service to remember the bravery shown by countless Wulfrunians who served their country during the First World War."

As well as the service of remembrance, Wolverhampton will also be marking the national two minute silence at 7.28 am on Friday - exactly 100 years on from the moment that many men went "over the top" as the battle began.

Meanwhile, Bilston Remembered presents a Black Country Tribute to The Heroes of The Somme featuring a talk by Tom Larkin of Black Country Memories. It takes place at the Metro Café, Church Street, Bilston, from 2pm on Friday and all are welcome. For more details, please contact Councillor Stephen Simkins on 07775 007989.

  • released: Tuesday 28 June, 2016