A PUBLIC meeting is to be held in Killyleagh on Thursday 25th February as the town prepares to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
A draft programme of cross-community events has been drawn up, opening with a Voices of the Somme event recalling the sacrifice in poetry, song and drama.
The programme includes lectures, war walking trails, educational visits and a workshop day for the young people of the town.
It is a follow up to the successful Killyleagh Remembers the Great War event, which ran from August to November 2014, commemorating 100 years from the start of the war.
“The Killyleagh Remembers the Great War project has been about learning from the past, dispelling myths and passing on the story to the next generation. Before we started the impression with some had been that everyone had been killed going over the top but as we have found, the story is more complex than that,” explained the convenor of the meeting Chris Hagan.
“Before the 36th Ulster Division entered the trenches at the Somme, a total of 10 Killyleagh men had been killed in the early years of the war. By the time the Somme battle ended, that death toll had doubled.
“The Killyleagh and Shrigley men who died at the Somme included David Boyd, William James Calvert, Francis Cheevers, John Kennedy, Samuel Martin, Moore McCleery, Samuel Montgomery, William Robert Moore, John Bennett Morrow and William Walker. Eight died in the first hours of going over the top.”
The consultation meeting will be held in the Lecture Hall in Irish Street at 7.30pm and is open to everyone from the Killyleagh and Shrigley areas.