Event recalls war sacrifice

The Somme.
The Somme.

Bachelors Walk will be transformed into a World War I camp next Saturday, November 19, in a special event to mark the sacrifice of the town’s brave young men who went to war, and those left behind.

The ‘Farewell My Love’ project has been organised by Edenderry Community Development Association (ECDA) and the Ancre Somme Association (ASA).

The camp will be on site from 10am and there will also be special visitors in the town centre from 11am who will join a parade leaving Bachelors Walk at 2pm.

The parade will make its way to the War Memorial before returning to Edenderry to unveil a plaque on the old railway station pillars in Watson Street, formerly known to many as Railway Street.

One hundred years ago the streets of Portadown bore witness to tears and heartache as the town’s young men embarked on a journey that would take them to France and Belgium during WWI.

Hundreds left for the Great War by train from Portadown Railway Station, on a journey from home many never realised would be their last.

ECDA Chairman Geoffrey Madill said, “The (railway) station had a free café which was supported by voluntary donations, churches and women’s groups providing the soldiers with tea, coffee, soup and a friendly smile.

“One newspaper reported ‘The number served last week was 595, and this week will be even larger’.

“There has been a lot of work and organisation in the months leading up our event resulting in a fitting memorial for the people of Portadown who went to war and those left behind.

“Our project will help inform young and old alike on the sacrifices of the Great War.”

Mark Jameson, Chairman of the ASA, said, “We feel it is important to highlight the struggle folk at home had to endure whilst the young men went off to fight.

“Many families watched their sons, brothers, husbands etc leave for war.

“Those same people had to face up to the fact that many never returned and those that did, would never be the same both physically and mentally. We think we owe them a place in history alongside our fallen heroes.”

The organisers have invited all Loyal Orders, Somme Associations and service and ex-service personnel to take part in the parade.

More information is available on the Edenderrry Community Development Association’s Facebook pages.