Town remembers its fallen Somme men

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Belper folk turned out in force to pay tribute to 14 men from the town who lost their lives on the opening day of World War One’s Battle of the Somme.

The town held a number of events during the weekend, including commemorative dramatic arts, a wartime-themed walk around the town and an open-air service at the recreated memorial in the Market Place.

Commemorations began on Friday with drama, music and poetry at St Peter’s Church and were followed by a wartime-themed walk around the town from Strutt’s North Mill by Belper historian Adrian Farmer.

During Sunday’s open-air service townsfolk brought vases and jam jars of garden flowers, as they did in 1919 when a rail strike meant no florist-bought flowers could be delivered.

Adrian Farmer, chairman of the World War One commemoration group, said: ”People were bringing flowers for hours before the service. There must have been 200 jam jars out there and it looks great.

“The memorial will stay in place for 14 days, which seems appropriate.”

After the service people were invited to Number 28 Community Hall where they were served cake and Anzac biscuits so they could experience the diet of a soldier at that time.

Adrian said: “It’s been a real joint effort to bring this together, with help from the town council, Belper Arts Festival, local churches, Number 28 and individual researchers, to name just a few.

“We wanted to show that Belper hasn’t forgotten those 14 men who lost their lives 100 years ago.”

Visit to read the stories of each of the Belper men killed in action during the war.