Village remembers its 85 war dead

Poppies, symbolising the bloodshed of World War One
Poppies, symbolising the bloodshed of World War One

Bessbrook services remember village’s war dead

Several hundred people gathered in the south Armagh village of Bessbrook on Sunday afternoon to remember 85 local men, Protestants and Roman Catholics, who died in the First World War, many at the Battle of the Somme.

Two services, one at Bessbrook war memorial and the other in Bessbrook Town Hall, were organised by the Bessbrook branch of the Royal British Legion.

Joining ex-servicemen and women were members of Bessbrook District LOL No 11, which had 100 lodge members serving in the First World War, 16 of whom were killed in action.

The parade was headed by Tullyvallen Silver Band and the Bessbrook Victoria Flute Band, whose members were dressed in period costume.

The Victoria band led the 1916 Bessbrook war contingent to the railway station outside the village for the first stage of their European war service.

The services were conducted by the Rev Frank Gibson, minister of Kingsmills Presbyterian Church, whose congregation, like the people of nearby Bessbrook, were also scarred by the Kingsmills massacre in January 1976 when 10 local workmen were murdered by the Provisional IRA.