A memorial service for the Preston Pals was held at 11.00am on Saturday 23rd July 2016 in Preston Railway Station; in attendance was the Deputy Lord Lieutenant, The High Sheriff of Lancashire, The Mayor of Preston and many other distinguished guests. The 23rd July 1916 was when most of ‘D’ Company of the Loyal North Lancashire regiment (The Preston Pals) were killed or wounded in the battle of Bazentin-le-Petit on the Somme.
The Preston Pals War Memorial, instigated by Andrew Mather, was installed on Preston Railway Station in July 2012. Situated between platforms 3 & 4, it honours the men who volunteered to fight in World War One within 7th Battalion, the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment (now part of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment).
An interesting feature of the ceremony was that military band (of about 7 musicians) played a re-discovered march “The Pals March”, which hasn’t been heard for many years.
‘The Pals’ march was composed in 1914 for piano by Ralph Sanders and was subsequently archived in Accrington Library. Early in 2013 it was arranged for East Lancashire Concert Band by Nick Holme and was later broadcast by BBC Radio Lancashire.
It’s believed that it was almost certainly written to celebrate the recruitment of the ‘Pals’ battalions in response to Lord Kitchener’s appeal at the outbreak of the War. The music reflects the optimistic mood of the time and the feeling that the conflict would be over by Christmas.
The following images from the service were captured by artist and photographer, Robin Utracik.
The Memorial Service had an excellent attendance of over 200 people, not only by the distinguished guests and people of Preston but many incidental railway travellers stayed for a while during their wait for trains. Chelsea pensioners and their Chaplain from the Royal Chelsea Hospital Chelsea pensioners, including Preston’s own Stephen Allen and their Chaplain from the Royal Chelsea Hospital travelled from London to be there for the ceremony.
Did you attend the Preston Pals Memorial Service? Let us know in the comments below.