Photos: Burnley’s silent tribute to The Fallen

Relatives of those who served and died in the Battle of the Somme joined ex-servicemen and others in Burnley on Friday morning to mark the centenary of one of the biggest battles in history.

On the morning of 1st July 1916 men and boys from Burnley were among tens of thousands of soldiers ordered to go “over the top” only to be cut down by German machine gunners.

People gathered at Towneley Hall War Memorial to remember the fallen

People gathered at Towneley Hall War Memorial to remember the fallen

More than 100 soldiers from the town were among the 57,000 British Army casualties suffered on the first day of the battle alone.

The service began at 7.30 am, the exact moment the whistle went and soldiers left the trenches.

The Mayor of Burnley, Coun. Jeff Sumner, said: “The boys and men from Burnley and East Lancashire who gave their lives, or who were injured and maimed, on that bloody first day of battle deserve to be remembered.

“This service gave today’s generation the opportunity to pay their respects and commemorate the sacrifice of those who travelled from the comfort of their homes to the horrors of the trenches.”

The boys and men from Burnley and East Lancashire who gave their lives, or who were injured and maimed, on that bloody first day of battle deserve to be remembered

The Mayor of Burnley, Coun. Jeff Sumner

Children from Rosewood Primary School, Burnley, laid named crosses and wreaths at the memorial in the morning and afternoon. They also learned more about the battle during a talk in Towneley Hall’s lecture theatre.

Jean Smith attended both sessions. Her father Alfred Edwards was wounded on 1st July. His medals and a shell splinter which was removed from his head are on display at the hall.

The battle was named after the River Somme in northern France which ran through the battlefield. It lasted from 1st July 1st to November 18th, 1916 and saw more than one million men killed or injured.