Town urged to make good on its Somme ‘debt of honour’

Dromore war dead of June 28, 1916, side by side in Martinsart Cemetery.
Dromore war dead of June 28, 1916, side by side in Martinsart Cemetery.

Three days shy of the 100th anniversary of the WWI Battle of the Somme, a Dromore man is urging locals to make good the “debt of honour” owed to the area’s fallen sons.

In the latest in a series of pleas aimed at fostering public gratitude for the sacrifice made by the local men of whom he wrote in his book ‘Dromore’s Great War Heroes’, author and amateur historian Jeffrey Martinis asking the community to pause in remembrance on Friday.

Mr Martin, the man ultimately responsible for the addition of dozens of names to Dromore’s War Memorial in recent years, said Dromore could be justifiably proud that townsfolk served, not only in so many different regiments, both native and foreign, in the fields of Picardy, but also throughout the many battles as the Somme campaign rolled on.

“This Friday marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916,” he said. “Many men from our town and district of Dromore served and sacrificed on the Somme plains and it is not only fitting but also a debt of honour to remember them. 

“For many people the Somme represents one day, 1 July 1916, but it must be remembered that the campaign on the Somme comprised a series of battles which lasted until 18 November 1916.”

The 36th (Ulster) Division alone sustained 5,500 casualties on the opening day of the battle, the British army suffering 19,000 dead and more than 30,000 injured.

“Almost a quarter of the names recorded on our town war memorial died on the Somme,” said Mr Martin, “so on this 100th anniversary consider the brave men of Dromore who left our town for the last time and sacrificed their lives for the tomorrow we now enjoy but that they would sadly never see. One hundred years on,  please pause at the cenotaph this Friday and remember our lost generation.” l Full story on page 12