Dozens of veterans, dignitaries and members of the public gathered to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme with a remembrance service at Troop Cafe in Llandudno.
A simple ceremony, held under a tree on the Mostyn Coachpark, marked the passing of 22 men from the area during the campaign, with each having his name, rank and regiment read aloud.
The short service was led by the Rev Beverley Ramsden of St John’s and St David’s Methodist Churches, Llandudno, and featured Gulf War veteran and Change Step peer mentor Jason Samuels reading On Somme, a poem by First World War soldier Ivor Gurney.
The two minute silence was flanked by the Last Post and Reveille, with Peter Kingston MBE, chairman of the Llandudno branch of the Royal British Legion, leading the exhortation and reading the Kohima Epitaph.
The standards of the Association of Wrens, Rhyl, and the Llandudno and Nefyn and District branches of the Royal British Legion were carried by Susan Duncan, Gordon Woodyatt and Wyndham Underwood.
Deputy Mayor of Llandudno Cllr Francis Davies, accompanied by wife and Deputy Mayoress Sonia, gave a vote of thanks.
He said it was crucial to remember those lost during the five-month battle, which killed around one million people on all sides.
“We must remember the sacrifices made by everyone on that day, and will continue to remember the sacrifices of all those brave people who lost their lives for us,” Cllr Davies said.
Amongst the attendees were a handful of people directly descended from men who fought on the Somme, including Joan Owen, of Llandudno, whose father, Harry Burton, was badly gassed. The Royal Engineer moved to the remote Hebrides after the war in an attempt to clear his lungs and stave off the worst of the after-effects, married later in life, and passed away when Joan was young.
“I’m very proud of the story, but am just sad I never knew him,” Joan said.
The service was the first in a series of new events to be held at the venue.
Troop Cafe, which is run by the award-winning CAIS Social Enterprises, will host peer mentors from Change Step and operate as a hub for veterans in the community — offering support and guidance for former service personnel, as well as a refreshed menu of tasty food, drinks and snacks to the general public. The Llandudno branch of the Royal British Legion already holds its monthly meetings at the venue.
++ Anyone interested in joining or supporting the work of the Llandudno branch of the Royal British Legion should contact Peter Kingston on 01492 872748 for more information.
++ Troop Cafe will host a Curry and Quiz Night in aid of Change Step on Monday 18th July 2016. The military-themed event is open to veterans and civvies, and offers a curry, soft drink and entry to the quiz for just £8.50. Tickets are limited, so please book soon to reserve your place.
For more information, please visit bit.ly/29qcHCw, search for Change Step on Facebook or contact Troop Cafe on 01492 871 284.
Full list of those commemorated at Troop Cafe:
ATHERTON, Ellis | Pte | Royal Welch Fusiliers
BROWN, Wilfred | Pte | Royal Welch Fusiliers
CLAYTON, John | Pte | Royal Welch Fusiliers
DAVIES, George | Sjt | Royal Welch Fusiliers
HUGHES, William | Pte | King’s Liverpool
HUGHES, Edwyn John | Lt | Royal Welch Fusiliers
HUGHES, Daniel | 2Lt | Gordon Highlanders
JONES, Alun Davies | LCpl | Royal Welch Fusiliers
JONES, Ivor | Pte | Royal Welch Fusiliers
JONES, Thomas Allen | Pte | Royal Welch Fusiliers
JONES, William | Sgt | North Lancashire
OWEN, David Henry | Pte | Royal Welch Fusiliers
OWEN, Enoch | Pte | Manchester
PRITCHARD, John | Pte | Royal Welch Fusiliers
ROBERTS, Thomas | Pte | Royal Welch Fusiliers
SIDEBOTTOM, Robert | Pte | King’s Liverpool
THOMAS, John | Pte | Welsh Guards
WALLACE, Edward | Pte | King’s Liverpool
WALLACE, John | Pte | Royal Welch Fusiliers
WILLIAMS, John R | Sjt | Royal Welch Fusiliers
WILLIAMS, Thomas | Pte | Royal Welch Fusiliers
WOOD, William | Pte | Welsh Regiment
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