The bloodiest day in the history of the British Army: how north Norfolk will remember Battle of the Somme

Frank Loady Allen of Cromer, killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Picture: POPPYLAND

Frank Loady Allen of Cromer, killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Picture: POPPYLAND PUBLISHING - Credit: Archant

A solemn 18-hour vigil around Cromer's parish churchyard war memorial tonight will signal the start of commemorations across the county to mark a tragic centenary.

Individuals and organisations will form an honour guard, changing hourly, from 6pm until noon tomorrow, in memory of all those who lost their lives in the Battle of the Somme, which began on July 1 1916.

Among 17 Cromer men who fought in the battle, which lasted until November 18 1916, was Frank 'Loady' Allen, who was just 24 when he was killed on July 1 with more than 19,000 other British soldiers.

The vigil will be followed by a service and wreath-laying.

North Walsham will honour the four men from the parish who died on the first day - Jeremiah Coe, Frederick Albert Abigail, Albert James Whitworth, and Harold Palmer - with three blasts on a whistle at 7.30am tomorrow.

The ceremony, which will take place outside the East window of the parish church dedicated to the town's First World War dead, will be followed by a short service.

St Andrew's, Felmingham, will hold a service at noon tomorrow in memory of farm labourer Albert James Whitwood, 28, also killed in action on July 1 1916.

Most Read

And at Overstrand's St Martin's Church a short memorial event will be held at noon on Saturday to remember villager Claude Church, killed on the second day, July 2.

Claude, 28, was one of King George V's 11 footmen at Buckingham Palace.

An exhibition will open in St Martin's tomorrow to record the seven Overstrand men killed during the Battle of the Somme during which more than one million lives were lost.

Other events include:

AYLSHAM - Noon commemoration around the St Michael's churchyard war memorial on Friday when bell will toll 100 times for victim Robert Goulder. Service in the church at 6pm.

SHERINGHAM - 7.30am whistle-blowing ceremony and silence, war memorial, The Boulevard, on Friday.