Secretary of State Owen Paterson MP is representing the British Government today at the annual Somme commemoration in France.
The Secretary of State will attend the commemoration services at Thiepval and Ulster Tower and will lay wreaths in memory of those who lost their lives in what was one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War.
“It is a deeply moving experience to remember the tens of thousands of men who died in this battle for their country and to see the war graves so meticulously maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Today I have the honour to lay wreaths at the memorials on behalf of the UK; it is with particular admiration that I reflect on the connection the people of Northern Ireland have with the Somme.
I also admire the dedication of organisations such as the Somme Heritage Centre who work tirelessly to ensure future generations learn about the Battle of the Somme and help ensure that what happened here in 1916 is never forgotten.
Minister of State Hugo Swire MP will represent the Secretary of State at the Somme commemoration in Belfast.