Somme centenary on Friday

Issued: Mon, 27 Jun 2016 11:55:00 BST

This Friday (1 July) sees the 100th anniversary of the First World War Battle of the Somme when 19 members of the University community died within a matter of hours on the first day. Many more perished in the subsequent four and a half months of battle.

On that first day of the battle alone, more than 19,000 British soldiers were killed.

The University of Glasgow has been honouring the students, staff and alumni who died in the First World War. There is a garden of remembrance close to the Memorial Gates on University Avenue. Dr Jennifer Novotny explains what is coming up at the end of the week:

Friday, 1 July
Commemorative activities will commence at 7.28 am, the time when soldiers were ordered to climb out of their trenches and cross no-man’s land. There will be a morning prayer service in the University Chapel, where short biographies of those who died exactly one hundred years ago will be read out. After this we will plant poppy crosses in the First World War Memorial Garden (by the memorial gates at University Avenue) and hold a minute’s silence to remember those who died. Please be seated by 7.20am so that the service can begin at 7.28am. These events are part of international commemorations overseen by the British Legion, which is coordinating overnight vigils across the country and at Thiepval Memorial in France, culminating in services of remembrance around the country at 7.28am. This is a free event and all are welcome, but please register online here.

Later, at 6.30pm in the University Chapel, we will be showing The Battle of the Somme, a film blending documentary and propaganda that was shot by official war cinematographers Geoffrey Malins and John McDowell in the trenches from 25 June – 9 July 1916 and first shown to British audiences that August. By October 1916 over 20 million tickets had been sold across the UK. The re-mastered film and modern soundtrack (Laura Rossi, 2006) are provided by the Imperial War Museum and there will be a brief introduction by Professor Tony Pollard. Run time is 74 minutes. This is a free event and all are welcome, but please register online here.

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