Trenchside commemoration of the Battle of the Somme

On Friday 1 July, Solihull Council will be holding a commemorative service to mark the centenary of the beginning of the Battle of the Somme.  The event will be taking place at 10am at CTC Kingshurst Academy, where they have built a life-size replica of a WWI trench – the only one of its kind in the area.

The Battle of the Somme is seen as representing the brutality and futility of much of the fighting during the war and the first day of the battle was the bloodiest in British military history, with the British Army suffering over 56,000 casualties.

24 men who had lived or studied in Solihull died on the first day; many of them part of the Royal Warwickshire regiment. In total 127 Silhillians died in WWI between July and November 1916 (the duration of the battle).

The event at CTC Kingshurst will see the 24 men remembered, as well as poetry readings from students and a minute’s silence.  There will also be an exhibition on the Royal Warwickshire Regiment featuring genuine battlefield relics and information about local people who served.

The Mayor of Solihull, Cllr Mike Robinson, will lead the service; he said “The Battle of the Somme was one of the most devastating battles in British history. This commemoration event will be a fitting tribute to those who fell from across the country but particularly from Solihull.

“The trench at CTC Kingshurst is a great way to help people understand what the men on the front line experienced.”

Although this event is invite-only, the following day (Saturday 2nd) there is an open day for the public to visit the trench and see the exhibition. There will an opportunity for children to take part in activities including rope climbing, practicing medical dressings and looking out into no man’s land through periscopes.

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