Villiers in France for Somme memorial

Published Monday, 01 July 2013
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Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers has paid tribute to fallen soldiers at the annual Somme commemoration in France on Monday.

Villiers in France for Somme memorial
Secretary of State Theresa Villiers at the Somme memorial. (© NIO)

The events are held to remember those who lost their lives during the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War and in the whole of British military history.

The Secretary of State took part in the Royal British Legion service of commemoration at Thiepval and the Somme Association services at the Ulster Tower and Guillemont.
She laid wreaths on behalf of the government.

"It is a great honour for me to be at Thiepval to represent Her Majesty's Government on this deeply moving and solemn occasion," Ms Villiers said.

She continued: "The 36th Ulster Division suffered massive casualties, but their bravery was truly heroic leading one eye-witness to say that 'Their attack was one of the finest displays of human courage in the world'. As a result, the Somme has left an indelible mark on Northern Ireland.

We must never forget those who gave their lives for our country during that terrible conflict. The losses at the Somme were without parallel in British military history.

Theresa Villiers

"I say this mindful of the vital role that so many men and women from Northern Ireland continue to play in our superb Armed Forces across the word today.

"It is also fitting that today we remember the sacrifice of the 16th (Irish) Division at Guillemont and elsewhere. They, too, suffered terribly."

She was joined by Dinny McGinley TD, representing the Irish Government.

Ms Villiers paid tribute to the Royal British Legion and the Somme Heritage Centre, who she added: "work tirelessly to ensure that future generations learn about the Battle of the Somme and help ensure that what happened on 1 July 1916 is never forgotten".

Meanwhile in Belfast, First Minister Peter Robinson joined crowds at the WW1 memorial in the grounds of Belfast City Hall.

Mr Robinson and Dame Mary Peters were among those who laid wreaths at the monument.

First Miinister Peter Robinson lays a wreath to commemorate the Battle of the Somme.

© UTV News
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3 Comments
honour them all in belfast wrote (296 days ago):
i am not an Ulsterman but yesterday, the 1st. July, as I followed their amazing attack, I felt that I would rather be an Ulsterman than anything else in the world." (Cpt Wilfred Spender, 2 July 1916) lest we forget
SilveraliPlain in Moyarget wrote (297 days ago):
And at the going down of the sun We Shall Remember Them.
matt in east belfast wrote (297 days ago):
We will remember them
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