Chelsea Pensioner's visit Carrickfergus
23 June 2011
Old soldiers are going on the march again as a party of Chelsea Pensioner's and other 'old soldiers' join forces in commemorating those from Co Antrim and from across Ireland who fought in the bloody Battle of the Somme in 1916.
On Sunday 26th June, a service and march past will be taking place at what is one of the most picturesque settings anywhere for a commemoration - high above Belfast Lough at the Co Antrim War Memorial, Knockagh where a solemn act of remembrance is set to take place at 11am.
The salute will be taken by the Queen's official representative, Joan Christie, the Lord-Lieutenant of Co Antrim.
The event will be one of a series of such commemorations to recall the thousands of WWI Irish Soldiers from the 36th (Ulster) Division and comrades from the 16th (Irish) Division who died fighting between 1 July and 13 November 1916 in the fateful battle.
This is a ceremony originally revived by ex-servicemen and women based at Whiteabbey Royal British Legion - when a small number re-started the once annual commemoration in a simple ceremony to lay wreaths and once again observe the traditional two-minute silence.
It is now a major event, usually attended by around 200 people - including councillors from across the whole county - with a band and a parade - being organised by Carrickfergus Borough Council.
It takes place in conjunction with a cross-county committee formed to initially restore, maintain and continue the commemorative use of the giant obelisk.
The memorial is an appropriate tribute to the 36th Ulster Division's 5,500 casualties on 1st July 1916 alone - with nearly 2,000 of those fatalities - on top of the many from the 16th (Irish) Division who also died that day.