PHOTO GALLERY: Recognise anyone? Friday night’s east Belfast parade marking 106th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme

A sea of colour snaked its way through east Belfast this evening as brethren and bandsmen took to the streets to commemorate the Battle of the Somme.

By Adam Kula
Friday, 1st July 2022, 9:30 pm
Updated Friday, 1st July 2022, 10:39 pm
Pacemaker Press 01/07/22 
The Somme commemoration Parade passes  through east Belfast on Friday evening,  with  parades across Northern Ireland to commemorate the Battle of the Somme.
Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 01/07/22 The Somme commemoration Parade passes through east Belfast on Friday evening, with parades across Northern Ireland to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. Pic Pacemaker

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.

Pacemaker Press 01/07/22 The Somme commemoration Parade passes through east Belfast on Friday evening, with parades across Northern Ireland to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. Pic Pacemaker

“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.

Pacemaker Press 01/07/22 The Somme commemoration Parade passes through east Belfast on Friday evening, with parades across Northern Ireland to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. Pic Pacemaker

“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.”

Pacemaker Press 01/07/22 The Somme commemoration Parade passes through east Belfast on Friday evening, with parades across Northern Ireland to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 01/07/22 The Somme commemoration Parade passes through east Belfast on Friday evening, with parades across Northern Ireland to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 01/07/22 The Somme commemoration Parade passes through east Belfast on Friday evening, with parades across Northern Ireland to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 01/07/22 The Somme commemoration Parade passes through east Belfast on Friday evening, with parades across Northern Ireland to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 01/07/22 The Somme commemoration Parade passes through east Belfast on Friday evening, with parades across Northern Ireland to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 01/07/22 The Somme commemoration Parade passes through east Belfast on Friday evening, with parades across Northern Ireland to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 01/07/22 The Somme commemoration Parade passes through east Belfast on Friday evening, with parades across Northern Ireland to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 01/07/22 The Somme commemoration Parade passes through east Belfast on Friday evening, with parades across Northern Ireland to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 01/07/22 The Somme commemoration Parade passes through east Belfast on Friday evening, with parades across Northern Ireland to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 01/07/22 The Somme commemoration Parade passes through east Belfast on Friday evening, with parades across Northern Ireland to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. Pic Pacemaker