Tribute paid to fallen soldiers from Sheffield

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A Sheffield man travelled to France to pay his respects to fallen soldiers from Sheffield.

Richard Ogden, from Nether Edge, travelled to northern France to commemorate the 99th anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

He made the trip to find out more about the role of the Sheffield City Battalion in the first day of the attack - the bleakest ever day for the British Army, with almost 20,000 troops killed.

The Sheffield City Battalion was made up of volunteers responding to Lord Kitchener’s call to arms after war broke out in August 1914. Around 250 members of the battalion died.

Richard visited the Sheffield Memorial Park, close to the site of the British frontline during the battle.

It contains a stone and brick shelter dedicated to Sheffield’s fallen soldiers.

Richard said: ‘It was both a privilege and a very moving experience to walk the ground where so many Sheffielders and others, on both sides, lost their lives or were wounded on that hot Saturday in 1916.

“I was particularly interested in the fate of three pairs of brothers, all of whom lived very close to my home in Nether Edge, including Frank and William Gunstone who lived in Ashland Road and must have joined up together as they have consecutive service numbers. Both were killed in action and are buried a few graves apart.

“One can only imagine the pain and anguish of parents and loved ones on receiving the dreaded telegrams informing them of the men’s deaths, something that must have been repeated all over Sheffield in the days and weeks that followed July 1st.

“I was proud to leave remembrance crosses to these six men - from a near neighbour - albeit 99 years on.”