Junior Minister Alastair Ross has attended the Somme to pay his respects to those who died there during World War One.
Following a visit to Thiepval Wood and the Ulster Tower the Junior Minister attended two ceremonies on Saturday 3 September, one at the Ginchy Cross in Guillemont to mark the action of the 16th Irish Division, and an unveiling of the Guillemont Stone to commemorate the Jersey Contingent.
Junior Minister Ross said: “The many recent commemorative events surrounding World War One have struck a chord with people around the world. Importantly, they have told a new generation of the tragedy of human loss and sacrifice in the Great War. It is vital we never forget but keep the memory of those who gave the supreme sacrifice alive in our hearts and thoughts.
“3 September 1916 was the day the 16th Irish Division entered the battle at Guillemont and on 9 September 1916 commenced fighting at Ginchy. Casualties were heavy on those two days of fighting and, of the 4,300 soldiers who were there, 1,600 were killed.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and our own Somme Association for preserving the memory of what took place 100 years ago. This has provided real comfort for the many people who have visited to mourn the loss of loved ones, educated many people on the consequences of war and preserved a respectful commemoration to those who were lost.”
Junior Minister Ross was representing the First Minister and laid a wreath at both events.