Orange service in Fivemiletown to mark Somme sacrifice

Fivemiletown District will step out on parade, along with brethren and sisters from across counties Tyrone and Fermanagh, as part of the Somme centenary remembrance event on Saturday, September 10
Fivemiletown District will step out on parade, along with brethren and sisters from across counties Tyrone and Fermanagh, as part of the Somme centenary remembrance event on Saturday, September 10

The Orange fraternity in Fermanagh and Tyrone are set to jointly commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme next weekend.

Orangemen, women and juniors from both counties will come together at a special drumhead service in Fivemiletown on Saturday, September 10.

The joint Act of Remembrance follows the official Somme commemorations earlier this year.

After a parade through the town, a religious service will be conducted by Tyrone County Chaplain Rev David Reid. Canon Mark Watson, Fermanagh County Chaplain, will provide the address.

The proceedings will be chaired by County Fermanagh Grand Master Stuart Brooker, with County Tyrone Grand Master Jim Emery providing a short history of the seminal battle during the service.

Organisers are encouraging members of the Institution across Fermanagh and Tyrone, and further afield, to support this event so it can be “another commemoration befitting the sacrifice of so many brave Ulstermen exactly 100 years ago”.

Speaking ahead of the drumhead service, Mr Brooker anticipates the commemorative event will be particularly “poignant”.

“It is important to remember those who gave their lives at the Somme a century ago, and I think it is fitting for us as Orangemen to do it in this way because we lost so many members in the battle,” he said.

“The least we can do is remember them in this way as we recall their brave sacrifice on our behalf.”

It is estimated as many as 200,000 Orangemen from across the world served during the First World War, with thousands seeing action at the Somme.

Mr Emery emphasised the importance of hosting the remembrance event in the west of the Province, and in so doing allow suitable recognition for those who lost their lives.

He said: “We must never allow those soldiers to be forgotten. Their service and sacrifice has provided us all a legacy of freedom for over a century.”

Both senior Orangemen maintained their respective county lodges have a close working relationship. The Fivemiletown commemoration follows a previous joint publication featuring poems, composed by local soldiers on the First World War battlefields.

Mr Brooker said: “We tend as individual counties to hold our own events but I think it is good to cross over the boundaries and do things together, which is beneficial to the Institution as well.”

Brethren and sisters attending are asked to assemble at the Cavanaleck junction (near to Cavanaleck Presbyterian Church) on the Enniskillen Road from 1.30pm. The parade will move off at 2pm ahead of the drumhead service which takes place in the grounds of Fivemiletown College. The return parade should move off at 4.15pm.