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14 October 2016

The Royal British Legion, in partnership with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will mark 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 on Friday 18 November 2016.   

The event will bring to a close the Legion’s stewardship of the daily commemorative services which began on Saturday 2 July at the CWGC Thiepval Memorial, remembering the sacrifice of individuals and communities during the Battle of the Somme.

Tickets have now been allocated for general release, and the deadline for applications is Friday 28 October. To apply, please visit: 

Entry to the event is by ticket only, the memorial will be closed for general access from 09:00 to 16:00.

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 encompasses 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 is calling on the nation’s sporting organisations, associations, clubs, teams and individuals to commemorate the role played by sportsmen in the battle.  

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 request media accreditation for Friday 18 November, please contact Claire Cooper, National Press Officer, The Royal British Legion: 020 3053 7060, 07920 378617, .

For more information on the CWGC, contact Catherine Lawson, CWGC Head of Marketing and Communications: 01628 634221,


Notes for editors:

1. The Royal British Legion’s work is encapsulated in its motto: Live On – to the memory of the fallen and the future of the living. The Legion is the nation's biggest Armed Forces charity providing care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces past and present and their families. It is the national custodian of Remembrance and safeguards the Military Covenant between the nation and its Armed Forces. It is well known for the annual Poppy Appeal, and its emblem the red poppy.

  1. On Friday 18 November, the National Memorial Arboretum in partnership with The Royal British Legion will also remember those who fought and died, during the Sundown on the Somme event.

3. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) commemorates the 1.7 million Commonwealth servicemen and women who died during the two world wars. It also holds and updates an extensive and accessible records archive.

The Commission operates in more than 23,000 locations in more than 150 countries.

4. The CWGC Thiepval Memorial

The CWGC Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. More than 90 per cent of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. The memorial also serves as an Anglo-French Battle Memorial in recognition of the joint nature of the 1916 offensive and a small cemetery containing equal numbers of Commonwealth and French graves lies at the foot of the memorial.

The memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, was built between 1928 and 1932 and unveiled by the Prince of Wales, in the presence of the President of France, on 1 August 1932.

The dead of other Commonwealth countries, who died on the Somme and have no known graves, are commemorated on national memorials elsewhere.

5. Photo and other credits

Please ensure that all photos, videos and other materials are credited:

Courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission or Courtesy of the CWGC

Get to know the Commonwealth War Graves Commission





The CWGC App and CWGC Thiepval App are free to download for Android and iOS.