And in the morning we will remember them: Solemn ceremonies across North Herts to mark 100 years since first day of the Battle of the Somme

Members of Stevenage Royal British Legion remembered those who fell.

Members of Stevenage Royal British Legion remembered those who fell. - Credit: Archant

Ex-servicemen and women, town councillors and dignitaries gathered this morning for a ceremonies to mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of the Somme.

Wreaths were laid at Stevenage war memorial

Wreaths were laid at Stevenage war memorial - Credit: Archant

On July 1 1916 at 7.30am in a muddy field in northern France, whistles blew ordering British troops to go ‘over the top’ and walk slowly towards the German trenches straight into enemy fire.

One in five of the men were killed by the German machine guns that day and the British Army suffered 57,470 casualties.

At 7.30am this morning there was a solemn two minutes silence at Stevenage war memorial in the Old Town before wreaths were laid in memory of those who fell 100 years ago.

Stevenage mayor Councillor John Lloyd, members of Stevenage Royal British legion and the town’s MP Stephen McPartland were among those in attendance.

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartalnd paid his respects.

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartalnd paid his respects. - Credit: Archant

The Somme remains one of the bloodiest battles ever fought in military history. It last five months and more than 1.5 million British and Allied service personnel lost their lives.

Mr Lloyd said: “This service is an opportunity for us to mourn and pay our respects to all service people who lost their lives.”

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Services of remembrance also took place at the Hitchin and Letchworth war memorials.

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