Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme – Croydon remembers those who gave their lives for our freedom.
Mayor of Croydon, Cllr Wayne Trakas-Lawlor said: “We gather today to honour those who lost their lives in the Battle of the Somme, a battle that was fought at such terrible cost that it has come to symbolise the tragic futility of the First World War. Its first day of conflict remains the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army and is still deeply at home for many families in the Croydon community.
Many of the local soldiers who had signed up were everyday young men from close-knit local communities across Croydon and the UK who subsequently suffered horrible losses. They were good friends, neighbours and colleagues who signed up together on the promise they would serve alongside each other. It sounded easy. These patriotic volunteers were sold on the romance of war, “Your Country Needs You”, and became known as the ‘Pals’ battalions.
It is worth remembering today that they gave their lives so that we can today live in a democracy that welcomes all to enjoy the freedom that we all too easily take for granted.
The 100th anniversary provides an opportunity to commemorate the service and sacrifice of those who lost their lives in the battle, to reflect upon the human cost of conflict and to have hope for a more peaceful world.”