OLDHAM is hosting a weekend of commemorative events to mark 100 years since the end of the Battle of Passchendaele, one of the bloodiest and muddiest fights in World War One.
Passchendaele, which was the third battle of Ypres, lasted from 31 July to 10 November 1917 and it is estimated that over half a million people died.
From the research undertaken so far in Oldham, around 400 soldiers with a connection to the Borough died, and of those, 258 have no known grave.
Two of the youngest, aged 18 years, were Harry Bradley and Albert Holbrook and two of the oldest, aged 40 years, were Ralph Platt and James Worthington.
Oldham Council is encouraging residents and visitors to join in, attend the events and remember the soldiers and service personnel who lost their lives.
The events, organised in partnership with the British Legion and Oldham Ex Service Men’s Association, will take place on Saturday, October 7 and Sunday, October 8.
On Saturday a commemorative dinner will take place at Oldham Event Centre at 7pm (7.30pm start).
There will be a three-course meal, entertainment, live readings and performances, and the chance to pay respects to the fallen. Tickets cost £25 and can be purchased by calling Oldham Remembers on 0161 770 4621.
Profits from the dinner will be used to buy bronze plaques for soldiers who died in battle but whose names were missed off the original plaques located outside Oldham Parish Church.
Then on Sunday, Oldham Parish Church will host a Service of Remembrance at 2pm.
Residents are invited to meet at the Civic Centre (Rochdale Road entrance) at 1.30pm and join the parade to the church together with the Armed Forces and the Mayor of Oldham.
Councillor Cath Ball, Assistant Cabinet Member for World War I Centenary, said: “The Battle of Passchendaele was one of the deadliest and muddiest battles in World War One and many residents will have relatives who died.
“There were around 400 soldiers with a connection to our borough so it’s only right we honour those who served and ensure that the lessons learnt live with us forever.
“If anyone would like to learn more, or to pay their respects, they can do that by attending the weekend events.”
The Council is also encouraging local people to get in touch with their photographs and stories from Passchendaele for their website, Oldham Remembers.
This site is being kept up-to-date with stories from the war, names of soldiers who fought and images of Oldham’s past. It aims to bring people from across the borough together in remembrance and can be found at www.oldhamremembers.org.uk
If you have any stories, images or items from the war and would like to share them please contact 0161 770 4621 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Following the Passchendaele commemorations Oldham Council will be holding a special service to honour and remember Victoria Cross Recipient, Private Walter Mills, on 11 December, 11am, at Oldham Parish Church.
Following the service a commemorative flagstone will be unveiled for Private Mills in the church grounds.
To get involved or for more information about the campaign, email: email@example.com or call 0161 770 462.