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We Are Here Battle Of The Somme Commemorations Sees Soldiers Break Into Song At Stations Across The Country

Young men handed out cards detailing names and ages of soldiers who died in the bloody battle.

01/07/2016 12:45

Commuters were stopped in their tracks this morning as they were confronted with men dressed as soldiers at stations across the country to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles in British military history.

Hundreds of young men dressed in World War One army uniforms appeared at stations in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Friday.

Some of the soldiers broke into song, singing "We're here because we're here" to the tune of Auld Lang Syne.

'We're here because we're here' was sung by soldiers in the trenches.

July 1, 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, resulted in almost 60,000 British casualties, making it the bloodiest day in British military history.

The living memorial is a sobering reminder of how young men were who were sent to fight in the trenches, with many soldiers still teenagers when they were conscripted. 

When passersby approached the young men, they were handed cards detailing the name of a soldier who died on July 1, 100 years ago. Soldiers were also photographed boarding trains at crowded stations.

Thousands of people, including the Royal family, are in France at a memorial being held for those who died during the battle.

The Thiepval Memorial event follows a two-minute silence held across the country on Friday morning. 

 

London Waterloo

London's Paddington Station

London's King's Cross

Glasgow

Manchester

Birmingham

Newcastle

Sheffield

Leicester

Belfast

Bristol

Salisbury

Plymouth

Swansea

Scalloway

It is believed that the tribute was organised by a PR company, but further details have not yet been released.

The first day of the Battle of the Somme resulted in 19,240 casualties.

Among the worst hit were the "pals" battalions - volunteer units of limited fighting experience.

Many were told to walk slowly across no man's land, resulting in massive numbers of dead as they headed straight into German machine gun fire. 

At the memorial event held in France on Friday, the Duke of Cambridge told the assembled guests: "We lost the flower of a generation; and in the years to come it sometimes seemed that with them a sense of vital optimism had disappeared forever from British life.

"It was in many ways the saddest day in the long story of our nation.

"Tonight we think of them as they nerved themselves for what lay ahead. We acknowledge the failures of European governments, including our own, to prevent the catastrophe of world war."

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