Duty done by city council

Wreath laid at Sheffield pals final resting place by Notre Dame students
Wreath laid at Sheffield pals final resting place by Notre Dame students
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There is a letter in The Star of May 19 headed “City Council should send delegation to honour dead”.

As the person who is organising the tour this year, I feel it my duty to reply, but first of all need to correct the errors in Patricia Davey’s letter.

In the first paragraph, she mentions the Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment. There has never been such a regiment.

Later it is called the York and Lancashire Regiment with a monument in Weston Park.

That says correctly York and Lancaster Regiment and is easily readable.

The third paragraph from the end states “that after the First World War Sheffield built a memorial at Serre in France at Sheffield Memorial Park at the cemetery etc.”

It did not. The memorial at Serre to the Sheffield City Battalion is on the outskirts of the village.

There is also a Sheffield shelter in Sheffield Memorial Park but that is not in a cemetery.

The former Dore councillor gives the impression that “Over the years this memorial has been forgotten and neglected by our city fathers”. It has not.

The Monument outside Serre was restored and a service of re-dedication was taken by the Bishop of Sheffield on July 1, 2006 in the presence of the Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, the Mayors of Barnsley and Rotherham together with about 90 people associated with the Regiment.

Since 1927 when the land was purchased by the city for Sheffield Memorial Park, that has also been maintained for the council by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

As a frequent visitor over many years I can assure readers that they would be proud of the state of both the Monument and the Park.

Finally, to this year. About 100 people will be travelling from this area to France for the centenary of the opening day of the battle of the Somme on July 1.

Again the service of commemoration will be taken by the Bishop of Sheffield in the presence of the High Sheriff of South Yorkshire, the Lord Mayor of Sheffield and the Mayors of Barnsley and Rotherham.

There will be approximately 200-250 people in the park on this occasion.

The City of Sheffield Pipe Band will be in attendance together with buglers from the Yorkshire Volunteers and representatives of the Royal British Legion and other military associations.

Many of those present, myself included, had relatives there on July 1, 1916.

At least four former Lord Mayors will be with us; all still serving on the council.

They are paying for themselves, not funded by the council taxpayers.

There has been no “dereliction of duty” by the city council with whom it has been my pleasure to work for more than 20 years.

Geoffrey Norton

Colonel (retired), York and Lancaster Regiment