News story

UK to observe silence to mark 100 years since the Battle of the Somme

The nation will fall silent for two minutes on 1 July to mark 100 years since the start of the Battle of the Somme


At 7:28am the UK will hold a national two minute silence to mark the moment the first wave of soldiers went over the top in one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War. It will follow the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery firing guns from Parliament Square for 100 seconds and a reading in Westminster Abbey. Whistles will be blown to mark the end of the two minute silence after the 7:30am chimes of Big Ben.

The Battle of the Somme resulted in over one million casualties on all sides throughout the 141 day battle. On 1 July a series of commemorative events will be held in France, London and Manchester during which the nation will remember those who lost their lives and loved ones on the French battlefields.

The commemorative events include:

  • An evening service at Westminster Abbey on 30 June attended by HM The Queen followed by an overnight vigil at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior
  • A commemorative service at the Thiepval Memorial in France that will tell the story of the Somme through cultural and military content, including hymns, readings and music
  • A national commemorative event in Manchester that will include a Home Front and military parade,a wreath laying and Cenotaph service, a service at Manchester Cathedral and an evening concert at Heaton Park

To pay our respects this silence will be observed in all UK Government Buildings. The public are encouraged to join us in observing this silence.

To see all of the local vigils and events and for more ideas on marking the Somme, please visit the Somme UK Commemoration Guide.

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Published 24 June 2016