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Battle's End - Commemoration marks centenary of the last day of the Battle of the Somme

18 November 2016

The Royal British Legion, in partnership with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has today marked the centenary of the final day of the Battle of the Somme with a daytime Drumhead service at the CWGC Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.


The event brings to a close the Legion’s stewardship of the daily commemorative services which began on Saturday 2 July at the CWGC Thiepval Memorial. The Right Reverend Bishop James Newcome, National Chaplain for The Royal British Legion, will lead the commemorative drumhead service, which will highlight the contribution of UK communities during the First World War, including the tragic Pals Battalions and the families they left behind.


Head of Remembrance at The Royal British Legion, The Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch KCVO, said:


“Throughout the First World War centenary, the Legion has led the nation in remembering the men whose sacrifice has come to symbolise the tragic scale and futility of modern industrialised warfare.


“The Last Day of The Somme is a moment to reflect on the collective sacrifice of all those who fought and fell in such tragic numbers between 1 July and 18 November, 1916.


“Their Service has left an enduring legacy across the UK and Commonwealth and it is fitting that members of communities from the UK that were affected by that loss, are able to pay tribute to these men at the close of the battle’s centenary.”


To mark the centenary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme, a First World War commemorative event was held at the CWGC Thiepval Memorial on Friday 1 July 2016 in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Henry of Wales.


The event was hosted by the French and UK Governments working in partnership with the CWGC. It formed part of a series of commemorations in France and the UK marking the 141 days of the Somme Offensive. These include the CWGC’s Living Memory project, which aims to encourage members of the public to discover, explore and remember the war graves heritage on your doorstep.


The Legion’s programme of commemorative activity encompassed a community toolkit Remember the Battle of the Somme 1916-2016, a Somme app featuring more than 250 unique pieces of multimedia content developed with the TV historian Dan Snow and the Sport Remembers campaign, which called on the nation’s sporting organisations, associations, clubs, teams and individuals to commemorate the role played by sportsmen in the battle.