Remembrance events in Birley and 70th Anniversary of Frecheville Royal British Legion Branch

For many years councillors for Birley ward have worked alongside the Royal British Legion’s local branch and were invited to attend a recent celebration and re-dedication service held at Christ Church, Hackenthorpe on 2nd December.

The Branch in Frecheville was founded 70 years ago to further the aims of the Royal British Legion and members continue to this day to support those who have served in the armed forces.

Local MP Clive Betts, neighbouring councillors, members of the British Legion and members of the public were also in attendance.

Speaking about the event, Labour and Birley Councillor Denise Fox said

“It was a very moving ceremony and I was really glad I attended. Over recent years I have worked closely with the British Legion and other Veteran Groups in the ward, and have supported a number of initiatives, the latest of these seeing the installation of a second interpretation board on Heathfield Road, and the re dedication of the trees of remembrance.

“In this centenary year of the end of the First World War, we have also secured the installation of a bench, dedicated to the memory of those from the wider area who gave their lives in the service of their country”.

To mark 100 years since the end of the First World War, Labour councillors announced plans to install a permanent memorial inside Town Hall for a city wide dedication to the Sheffield ‘Pals’ and all of those who fought in the Sheffield Battalion in the First World War.

The ‘Sheffield Pals’ is the name given to the Sheffield City Battalion who had enlisted together in local recruiting drives, with the promise that they would be able to serve alongside their friends, neighbours and colleagues.

The Pals trained for two years before being deployed to their first combat at the Battle of the Somme, in what would become one of the bloodiest battles in human history. Tragically many of the Sheffield Pals were lost in the very first day of fighting, and by the end of the four-month long battle 90% of the Sheffield Pals had been killed.

Commenting on the plans for a plaque in the Town Hall,Councillor Denise Fox said;

“Last month a petition came forward by Pat Davey the Chair of the British Legion Royal Frecheville Branch, supporting calls for a specific dedication to the Sheffield PALS and I was very happy to be part of a group pushing for this to happen.

“The Town Hall plays a particularly sad role in the tragic story of the Sheffield Pals, as many of the recruits signed up to fight in the Council chamber.

“They did so in great spirit, it was supposed to be a great adventure but they ended up fighting on the front line in Somme. In this ‘hell on earth’ many were killed by gunfire in the first 10 minutes of going over the top. It is one of the darkest days in the history of Sheffield.

“It is absolutely right that a memorial for the pals should be installed at Town Hall and I am glad that Labour councillors are pushing to ensure this is done. We will always give as much support as we can to the Royal British Legion and all of those who have served our country, past and present.

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