The traditional anniversary parade, which has followed the same route for decades, took the roughly 30 bands on a counter-clockwise loop thoughout much of the inner-east side of the city.
There was a strong police presence around the republican-dominated Short Strand, but no reports of any trouble at time of writing.
Among those at the event was loyalist activist Moore Holmes, who wrote: “Fantastic family atmosphere at the first of July Somme Memorial Parade in east Belfast this evening.
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“Great to see people young and old, Orangeman and Band member, all coming together to celebrate our culture and commemorate those who paid the ultimate sacrifice 106 years ago.”
The battle which began on July 1, 1916, continued well into wintertime of that year, involving – among others – the 36th (Ulster) Division and the 16th (Irish) Division.
According to an account given of the battle by the British National Archives: “The strategy of limited attacks using rapidly moving and well-protected infantry was abandoned in favour of an attack over a 20-mile area, in which the infantry proceeded towards enemy lines in slow, rigid formations that provided easy targets for German machine-guns.
“As both private and operational sources illustrate, the first day of the battle, 1 July 1916, was a bloody failure: 20,000 of the 120,000 men who attacked were killed.
“The territorial gains bought by this sacrifice were minimal.”
By the end of the battle, it says: “While German casualty rates were indeed high - roughly 450,000 men killed or wounded – Britain and France fared even worse, with a combined total of 650,000 casualties.”