Reported in the News Letter on September 5, 1964: Somme veterans to meet at special Ulster Hall event


Tonight, about 800 ex-servicemen will meet at the Ulster Hall and relive a day in their life they will never forget.

The old soldiers are veterans of the Ulster Division who went over the top in that memorable action, the Battle of the Somme, on the morning of July 1, 1916.

When the attack was over, they had covered themselves in so much glory that war correspondents wrote home saying they would rather be Ulstermen than anyone else in the world.

The attack on the German positions began with a slow walk over no-man’s land. Then, to a man, they charged over the two front lines of the enemy trenches, shouting: “No surrender, boys.”

German gunfire raked them from the left, and machine guns in a village enfiladed them on the right.

The enemy’s third line was soon taken. Still the waves of infantry pressed on, getting thinner and thinner, but never faltering.

The German fourth line fell. They managed to enter the fifth line but it could not be held.

The Ulster Division had taken terrible punishment. Thousands died in the bloody struggle. The order to retire was given, but some preferred to die on the ground they had won so dearly. It was but one of many actions in the Great War, but it gained for Ulster’s heroes an imperishable place in human hearts.