Special Choral Evensong on Sunday July 3rd at 4pm
By Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (www.asssistnews.net)
COVENTRY, UNITED KINGDOM (ANS – June 27, 2017) — The Battle of the Somme has been described as the most devastating battle in modern military history, which left 310,000 British solders dead and over a million injured from both sides.
Friday, July 1 will mark 100 years since the battle began in North West France. More than one million soldiers were killed, missing, or wounded on both sides by the time it finished on November 18, 1916.
As part of a coordinated attack on German forces on the Western, Eastern and Italian Fronts, 13 British army divisions and six French divisions launched an attack on six German divisions.
Before the first infantry advance, the British army fired 1,738,000 shells in the hope of destroying German trenches and defenses.
By the end of the first day of the British infantry offensive, 19,240 soldiers had been killed with a further 38,230 reported injured or missing. By its conclusion, 310,486 British soldiers had been killed at the Somme with a more than a million casualties on both sides.
Wet winter weather finally put an end after 140 days of fighting between poorly equipped and ill-prepared troops on both sides. Over the course of the battle, the British took territory six miles deep and 20 miles long from the Germans.
It was the first major engagement involving the men who volunteered to fight in 1914 and 1915. This included the ‘Pals’ battalions which allowed friends, relatives and work mates from the same communities fight together.
On Sunday, July 3 at 4pm, David Stone, Sub-Dean and Canon Precentor, will lead a service of Choral Evensong at Coventry Cathedral which will commemorate the centenary of this battle.
Canon Stone will be joined by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Colonel George Marsh TD, and the Lord Mayor of the City of Coventry, Councillor Lindsley Harvard.
“The service will be a moment to reflect, pause and remember the Battle of the Somme,” explained Canon Stone.
“Many of those who fought were part of the ‘pals’ battalions so brothers, friends and neighbors were fighting and dying next to each other, the result of which was devastating to communities across the country, including some here in the Midlands.
“It’s right that we take this time to remember this sacrifice both on the battle ground and here at home.”
The Choral Evensong will include the singing of Mark Blatchly’s beautiful anthem ‘For the fallen’ by the Girl Choristers and an address by Kathryn Fleming, Canon Pastor. All are welcome.
For all media enquiries please contact Christine Doyle (+011 44 07769738180) or Isabel Merrifield (+011 44 07852503987).
Photo captions: 1) The Battle of the Somme: Mametz, Western Front, a winter scene, painting by Frank Crozier. 2) Coventry Cathedral 3) Michael Ireland.
About the Writer: Michael Ireland is a volunteer internet journalist serving as Chief Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as an Ordained Minister who has served with ASSIST Ministries and written for ANS since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. Please consider helping Michael cover his expenses in bringing news of the Persecuted Church, by logging-on to: https://actintl.givingfuel.com/ireland-michael
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