- Plaque to be unveiled to Sheffielders who died in First World War
- Commemorations in Sheffield and Sheffield Memorial Park in France
- Weston Park to become a Centenary Field
- Parade and dedication to Pals
The 4,898 Sheffield men who died during the First World War are to be honoured with a new dedicated plaque and march – on the 100th anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
Sheffield City Council has nominated Weston Park as a ‘Centenary Field’, as part of a national initiative being led by the Fields in Trust and the Royal British Legion.
A parade, open to members of the public, will take place in Weston Park from 11am on Friday 1 July followed by the dedication of a new plaque, watched by the Lord Lieutenant and Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Anne Murphy.
The Centenary Fields programme 2014 to 2018 aims to protect, forever, at least one green space in every local authority area across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to commemorate the centenary of the First World War and provide recreational land for future generations to enjoy.
Weston Park has been selected because of its local heritage and significance. The York & Lancaster Memorial within the park commemorates the loss of more than 8,800 soldiers during the First World War, including the Sheffield Pals.
Councillor Tony Damms, Sheffield City Council’s Armed Forces Champion, said: “Dedicating a Centenary Field is a fitting way to commemorate the sacrifice of those who lost their lives in the conflict and ensures that their communities benefit now and in the future from protected green spaces.
“This commemoration will celebrate the historic local links of the Sheffield City Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment among others.
“By further safeguarding Weston Park, this new Centenary Field designation will contribute towards creating a living UK-wide legacy in commemoration of the sacrifice made by those who lost their lives in this terrible war.”
Meanwhile, a group from Sheffield will be paying its respects at the Somme in Sheffield Memorial Park, where some 500 members of the Sheffield City Battalion were casualties on the first day of battle. Guests in France include Her Right Worshipful Lord Mayor of Sheffield Denise Fox and the Lord Mayor’s Consort, Cllr Terry Fox.
The service of commemoration will be taken by the Bishop of Sheffield in the presence of the High Sheriff of South Yorkshire, the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, the Mayors of Barnsley and Rotherham and local French Mayors.
The City of Sheffield Pipe Band will be in attendance together with buglers from the Yorkshire Volunteers and representatives of the Royal British Legion and other military associations
Colonel Geoffrey Norton.of the York & Lancaster Regiment said: “It is right that we should remember those from Sheffield and district who gave their lives for their country 100 years ago in the area dedicated to their service – Sheffield Memorial Park, purchased by the City in 1927 and beautifully maintained ever since.
“That the City should recognise this fateful day both here and in France shows how much we care. We will always remember them.”
Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for Culture, Parks and Leisure, said: “It is fitting that Weston Park, which is already home to two war memorials, should become a centenary field and play a crucial part in the city’s commemorations of the Battle Of The Somme.
“This is an important date in Sheffield’s history and we will be united as one in remembering those from Sheffield who tragically lost their lives.”
Fields in Trust Chief Executive Helen Griffiths said “Our Centenary Fields commemoration of WWI is a four year programme, but there are specific moments which bring sharply into focus the impact of the War. The first day of the Battle of the Somme saw more casualties than any other day in military history. We want to create a living legacy to the fallen and recognise the impact on their families and wider communities, like those here in Sheffield, through our Centenary Fields programme which will preserve, forever, recreational space to be enjoyed by future generations .”