Help the nation remember individual stories from the Battle of the Somme

On 1 July thousands of the people who were involved in the Battle of the Somme will be personally remembered in a project launched in Manchester, as part of the national Somme commemorations.

The stories and sacrifices of the men and women who played their part in the Battle of the Somme will be remembered on individually designed ‘memory squares’, created by the public. These will be uploaded to an online gallery, and then printed onto tiles to form the ‘Path of the Remembered’ which will be laid in Heaton Park, Manchester on 1 July 2016. 

Many designs depicting different themes and styles have already been received, inspired by memories, poems and a wealth of remarkable and moving stories.

Some of the examples received include:

Today, we are still touched by the events which happened 100 years ago in this battle which lasted a 141 days and claimed almost a million lives, and the “Path of the Remembered” offers the chance to create a personal artwork to mark this moving anniversary. Hundreds of memory squares made by children and adults, each one depicting compelling and moving personal stories have already been received.

Councillor Sue Murphy, Deputy Leader, Manchester City Council said: “ 'The Path of the Remembered' will provide a moving and fitting tribute to honour those who took part in this most bloodiest of battles. The path will form a key part of the commemoration events in Heaton Park and will remember not just soldiers who died in battle, but civilians on the Home Front, nurses, factory workers, conscientious objectors and others who committed astonishing acts of courage in the course of their daily lives.”

To take part, members of the public can go to
where they can see examples of memory squares and then design and upload their own. They can be designed by hand, as a drawing or using a photo, or on a computer. The designs can be as artistic or as simple as people choose and a personal connection is not necessary. Every submitted memory square needs to be accompanied by a short dedication, telling the basic story of the person or group being remembered. The website contains information and help with researching someone to commemorate.

Fifty workshops are taking place across Greater Manchester involving all ages from brownies to people in retirement homes. 

All online designs will be printed on to individual ceramic tiles and then laid as a “Path of the Remembered”, in Heaton Park, in time for the centenary of the Somme on 1 July.

The ‘Path of the Remembered’ and other events taking place in Heaton Park, on 1 July, including and evening concert, will be the culmination of a national day of commemoration for the Battle of the Somme. The day also includes a parade of military and home front organisations through Manchester city centre, followed by a Remembrance service at Manchester Cathedral, and a heritage event, the ‘Experience Field’ for schools and families.

Free tickets for the evening concert at Heaton Park can be obtained here

• The UK’s National Commemoration of the Battle of the Somme in Manchester on July 1 will include a parade of military and home front organisations marching through the city centre, and a Somme Remembrance service held at Manchester Cathedral at 3pm and shown on big screens nearby.

• Heaton Park is one of the largest municipal parks in Europe and in 1916 was a military training ground for many recruits before they went to the Somme. The evening event will also feature a range of letters, poems and diary entries depicting the lives of those affected by the Somme- including a specially commissioned poem read by author and broadcaster Lemn Sissay, along with a performance by Manchester’s Halle Orchestra.

• There will also be an Experience Field at Heaton Park for those interested in learning more about life in 1916. The Experience Field at Heaton Park will be open from 4-7pm on Friday July 1 and again on Saturday 2 July from 11am to 4pm

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