Over 1,200 attend moving Lincoln Castle service for Battle of the Somme centenary

A chorus of whistles rang through Lincoln Castle grounds, marking the exact moment 100 years ago when the order was given to ‘go over the top’ at the Battle of the Somme.

The special ceremony from 7am on Friday, July 1 was attended by over 1,200 people, including over 300 school children, honoured guests and members of the Royal Anglian Regiment.

Songs were performed by the Waddington Military Wives Choir and members of the cast of Green Fields Beyond, before readings from a Lincoln community play.

Silence fell in the castle grounds as crowds reflected on the 19,240 men who died in battle on July 1 1916. Seven battalions were from Lincolnshire. All suffered significant losses.

A DH2 WWI replica paid tribute to the sacrifice of Somme soldiers, the sound of its engines roaring across the Lincoln skyline against a bugler’s performance of The Last Post.

The ceremony was concluded when 300 Lincolnshire school children created their own Poppies:Wave on the banks of the castle grounds.

A series of commemorative events will continue throughout the week. At 5pm, every evening from July 1-6, a bugler will play the Last Post over Castle Hill from the battlements of Lincoln Castle’s West Gate.

This will be followed by a student from a local school reading out 26 names of the fallen from Lincolnshire in the Battle of the Somme.

The week’s events conclude on Thursday, July 7 at 5pm on the South Lawn at Lincoln Castle.

In view of Poppies: Wave, The Band of the Royal Air Force College Cranwell will play a special antiphonal rendition of The Last Post culminating with a flypast of a BBMF Spitfire (weather permitting).

The flag will be lowered at Lincolnshire County Council offices to mark the special anniversary.