Sheffield park to be turned into ‘centenary field’ to honour First World War dead

Sheffield Pals being drilled in 1914
Sheffield Pals being drilled in 1914
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Almost 5,000 Sheffield men who died during the First World War will be honoured on the 100th anniversary of day one of the Battle of the Somme.

Sheffield Council has chosen an area of Weston Park as a ‘centenary field’ as part of a national initiative led by the Fields in Trust and the Royal British Legion which aims to protest at least one green space in every local authority area across the country.

To remember the 4,898 men from the city who died in the war, a plaque will be installed and a march will take place in the park from 11am on July 1, a century after the first day of one of history’s bloodiest battles.

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Weston Park was chosen because of its local heritage and significance. The York and Lancaster Memorial there honours more than 8,800 soldiers, including the Sheffield Pals.

The council’s armed forces champion Tony Damms said: “Dedicating a centenary field is a fitting way to commemorate the sacrifice of those who lost their lives in the conflict and ensures that their communities benefit now and in the future from protected green spaces.

“This commemoration will celebrate the historic local links of the Sheffield City Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment among others.

“By further safeguarding Weston Park, this new centenary field designation will contribute towards creating a living UK-wide legacy in commemoration of the sacrifice made by those who lost their lives in this terrible war.”

A group from Sheffield will go to France to pay their respects at Sheffield Memorial Park on the Somme, where some 500 members of the Sheffield City Battalion died on the first day of battle.

Colonel Geoffrey Norton of the York and Lancaster Regiment said it was right to remember those from Sheffield who gave their lives.

“That the city should recognise this fateful day both here and in France shows how much we care. We will always remember them,” he said.