BOROUGH students took time out of their usual school routine as a commemorative service was held to mark the centenary of the beginning of the Battle of the Somme.
Kingshurst Academy, home to a life-size replica of a World War I trench – the only one of its kind in the area – hosted the event on Friday (July 1) which remembered and reflected on the lives of 24 men from Solihull who died during the Somme.
The Battle of the Somme is seen as representing the brutality and futility of much of the fighting during the War and the first day of the battle was the bloodiest in British military history, with the British Army suffering over 56,000 casualties.
Students read poems, prayers were acknowledged from the representatives of the Solihull Faiths Forum and a minute’s silence was observed.
The service also featured an exhibition on the Royal Warwickshire Regiment featuring genuine battlefield relics and information about local people who served.
Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Tim Watts, the Mayor and Mayoress of Solihull, the Right Honourable Caroline Spelman MP and West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, were all in attendance.
The Mayor of Solihull, Coun Mike Robinson, said: “It’s quite impossible for me to comprehend the devastation and suffering our soldiers must have endured.
“It’s a battle which has ingrained itself in our nation’s psyche – we must never forget the sacrifice those men made and we must forever honour their bravery.”
The following day saw Kingshurst Academy host an open day – offering members of the public the opportunity to visit the life-size trench and see the exhibition.
Young people took part in a variety of activities including rope climbing, practising medical dressing and looking out into no man’s land through periscopes.
A special exhibition ‘Solihull Remembers’ – which commemorates the local men who served and died at the Somme – is currently on display at The Core in the town centre and will remain there until Saturday (August 20).