Some of you will have seen the poppies that are at the front of Wesley along the railings. They are there to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme that started on 1st July 1916.
The Battle of the Somme, fought in northern France, was one of the bloodiest of World War One. For five months the British and French armies engaged the Germans in a brutal battle of attrition on a 15 mile front.
The aims of the battle were to relieve the French Army fighting At Verdun and to weaken the German Army. However, the Allies were unable to break through German lines. In total, there were over one million dead and wounded on all sides.
The first day, 1st July 1916 was a disaster for the British. The Germans weathered the artillery fire in deep trenches and came up fighting. As the British soldiers advanced, they were mown down by machine gun and rifle fire. In total, 19,240 British soldiers lost their lives. It was the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army.
The young people of Wesley including the Boys’ Brigade have made the poppies. For those of you who don’t know, the poppies are made out of the bottoms of the plastic bottles that were donated to build the plastic bottle greenhouse that now stands at the rear of the graveyard. There has been several positive comments made about the poppies and people have even been seen taking photos.
We hope to leave the poppies there for the next few months, at least until 19 November which is the day that the Battle of The Somme ended.