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Grim reality of war in trenches brought to life

The grounds of the old Lisnaskea High School were recently transformed into a Great War trench

The grounds of the old Lisnaskea High School were recently transformed into a Great War trench

Community representatives in Lisnaskea are basking in the success of a creative and unusual project which helped locals understand the grim reality of life on the frontline in World War One.

The grounds of the old Lisnaskea High School were recently transformed into a Great War trench.

Members of the local Lambeg drumming club and Orange lodge came together to carve out a huge replica trench in the soil.

The ambitious project was an exact copy of a real trench from the Western Front, and was complete with sandbags.

It aimed to help locals of all ages imagine what life in the trenches would have been like for the soldiers of World War One.

David Storey, from the Lisnaskea Lambeg Drumming Club, told the News Letter that locals get together to mark the anniversary of the Somme in the last week of June every year.

“But as it’s the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One this year, we wanted to pull out all the stops and do something really special,” he said.

Mr Storey explained that it had taken “several days and a digger” to build the trench.

The project has been praised as a huge success by local representatives.

On Friday, over 1,000 people met at the new trench for an evening of historical re-enactment and to remember the fallen soldiers of the Somme.

A play which is set in the era was performed at the site, complete with full replica period costumes.

A pre-war family picnic also took place, and families sat on retro rugs and bales of hay while they tucked into hampers and listened to local flutes.

Local historian David McCallion, from War Heroes Remembered, spoke to the crowds about some of the history from the time.

A poem from the era was read out as locals paid their respects to the fallen soldiers of the Somme.

Acts of remembrance have taken place throughout the Province over the last week.

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers travelled to France to lay wreaths at Thiepval and Guillemot on Tuesday.

At the same time, DUP First Minister Peter Robinson and SDLP Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon were among those who laid wreaths in the Garden of Remembrance at Belfast City Hall.

Many men from the 36th (Ulster) Division and the 16th (Irish) Division lost their lives at the Somme.

The battle ran from July 1 to November 18, 1916 and is widely regarded as one of the bloodiest of the whole war.

 

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