PICTURES: Somme commemoration sees marchers flood Belfast streets

A large-scale parade commemorating the Battle of the Somme tonight has 'set a good tone for the Twelfth', leading Orangeman Mervyn Gibson has said.

Tuesday, 3rd July 2018, 12:17 pm
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 5:02 pm
Battle of the Somme anniversary parade, Belfast: July 2, 2018

About 40 lodges and nearly as many bands were estimated to have taken part in the east Belfast commemoration for the battle, which began on July 1, 1916, with thousands of specatators watching.

It began at 7.30pm in Templemore Avenue, with an act of remembrance at Strandtown War Memorial at roughly 9pm.

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Battle of the Somme anniversary parade, Belfast: July 2, 2018

Ballymacarrett District Master Brother Raymond Spiers said: “The Battle of the Somme parade is the largest annual event in east Belfast, when thousands honour those who fought and died.”

As of about 10pm, police said that “contrary to some reports on social media there have been no issues or disorder in any part of the city linked to this event”.

Mr Gibson said likewise, adding: “There were great crowds out cheering the parade on throughout. It’s a great night all round.”

The parade was organised by Ballymacarrett District LOL No6, and is understood to be the longest-running Somme memorial event in the world.

Battle of the Somme anniversary parade, Belfast: July 2, 2018
Battle of the Somme anniversary parade, Belfast: July 2, 2018