A delegation from Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has travelled to France to attend the centenary commemoration of the Ulster Memorial Tower.
The Tower symbolises the service and sacrifice of men from the island of Ireland who lost their lives during the Battle of the Somme and throughout World War I.
The visit forms part of Council’s wide-ranging NI 100 programme which is taking place during 2021 to mark the 100th anniversary of Northern Ireland.
The Mayor, Councillor Richard Holmes, laid a wreath during a special service organised by the Somme Association on Friday 19th November, where he was joined by Council’s Veterans’ Champion Alderman Sharon McKillop, Alderman Michelle Knight McQuillan, Alderman Mark Fielding and Alderman Yvonne Boyle.
Reflecting on the poignant occasion, he said: “I have been fortunate to visit the Somme before, but this year’s visit had added significance as we come together to reflect on the 100th anniversary of the Ulster Tower Memorial which stands on what was the German front-line.
“In November 1916, the Battle of the Somme came to an end having claimed over 300,000 lives. As I stepped forward to lay my wreath, the sacrifice of men from Ulster was to the forefront of my mind as we continue to remember their bravery when faced with the horrors of war.
“The Ulster Memorial Tower was the first official memorial to be erected on the Western Front, and 100 years on, it serves as an important reminder about those who laid down their lives. It was a privilege for me to take part in these proceedings, and to have them included in Council’s NI 100 programme is a fitting reminder of this part of our history.”
The Council delegation also attended a Last Post ceremony under the Menin Gate. This moving tribute takes place every night to remember the sacrifice made by many during efforts to protect the town.
Another highlight of the visit was a Musical Concert at the Albert Basilica featuring the Band of the Royal Irish Regiment, the Band of the Irish Defence Forces, and the Bugle, Pipes and Drums of the 1st and 2nd Battalions of The Royal Irish Regiment.
You can find out more about Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s NI 100 programme by going to https://www.causewaycoastandglens.gov.uk/ni-100.