Extended programme at Knockagh to mark Somme centenary

County Antrim War Memorial at Knockagh.
County Antrim War Memorial at Knockagh.

Mid and East Antrim Council has tasked a local historian with writing a short play as part of local Somme commemorations next month.

Philip Orr was commissioned to create the piece by the local government authority as it prepares to host the annual memorial service at the County Antrim War Memorial.

The service on June 26 will this year include an extended programme of events to coincide with the national Somme centenary commemorations on July 1.

In a report due to be presented at Tuesday night’s meeting of the council, members were told that the centenary remembrance service and parade will follow similar format to previous years.

Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for the County Of Antrim, Joan Christie OBE, will be in attendance to take the salute.

The parade will form up on Monument Road at 10.40am with mayors, aldermen and councillors joining the procession to the Knockagh monument.

“To mark the significance of the occasion, the Band of the Irish Guards have been secured to lead the parade and provide the accompaniment to the service,” the report added.

“Following the ceremony at the Knockagh Monument, guests will be invited to Carrickfergus Civic Centre for a reception. In light of the significance of the occasion, council has commissioned Philip Orr to produce a short play.

“There will also be music, and poetry reading alongside a display of museum artefacts.

“The chief executive is currently liaising with the MOD around the potential to secure a fly-past to mark the occasion.”

Meanwhile, Carrickfergus is due to host the Somme centenary Festival of Remembrance on July 1, hosted by the local council in partnership with the World War One Centenary Committee, Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association, and the Royal British Legion.

A military band will lead proceedings on the evening of July 1 when a services’ display and World War One-themed exhibits will take pride of place under the walls of Carrickfergus Castle.

The Royal British Legion is also encouraging communities to mark the solemn occasion at a local level.