A SPECIAL service was held in Malvern this morning (Friday) to mark the centenary anniversary of the Battle of Somme.
The battle, fought by the armies of the British and French empires against the German Empire, is understood to be one of the most bloodiest events in military history which saw thousands die on its first day on July 1, 1916.
Around 100 people attended the one-hour vigil ceremony outside Malvern Library at 7am, organised by Malvern Town Council, showing their respects to those who fought and lost their lives while honouring their country.
More than 40 residents from Malvern died during the battle with some being former pupils of Malvern College.
Those who lost their life were brothers Lt Frederick Wareham and Lt Laurence Wareham who attended St Matthias School and had been training to be teachers, following their father who was head teacher of Leigh Sinton School.
The biography of John Paxman Everitt – a former Malvern College student – who died on the opening day of the battle was read out.
A two-minute silence was held at 7.28am to mark the moment when the whistle blew to begin the battle.
The ceremony ended with visitors and guests laying memorial crosses at the centre of the War Memorial.
It was hosted by Reverend Andrew Law and Malvern Mayor Cynthia Palmer read out an overview of the battle and Malvern’s roll of honour.
Extracts were also read out by members of the community including West Mercia Police Sgt Ian Blanchard and Malvern Hills District Council chairman John Raine.
Speaking after the ceremony, Coun Palmer said: “Listening to the names and the stories of those brave men from Malvern who fought at the Battle of the Somme was extremely humbling.
“Their bravery and sense of duty was beyond belief and we must never forget their courage and the sacrifice they made so that we could live in peace.”
After the ceremony, Malvern Library opened early to unveil an information display about the battle.