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Remembering Shetland’s fallen in France

SIC convener Malcolm Bell in Beaumont Hamel for the memorial service.

SHETLAND Islands Council convener Malcolm Bell was in France on Sunday to lay a wreath in memory of soldiers from the isles who lost their lives in the Battle of the Somme a century ago.

Bell travelled to Beaumont Hamel, a tiny village on the shores of River Ancre in northern France, for a fittingly sombre service.

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This year’s Remembrance Sunday held particular significance for Shetland, marking the centenary of a battle which saw the isles suffer its greatest single loss of life during the First World War.

“It was very moving to be there exactly 100 years to the day [since] they went ‘over the top’, 13 of them being killed in the process,” Bell said.

Bell added that, for such a small place, the turnout was “amazing” with around 100 people present. Following the commemoration the village’s mayor held a ‘Vin d’honeur’ reception.

Back home, SIC vice convener Cecil Smith, Shetland’s lord lieutenant Bobby Hunter and a host of local military and other organisations laid wreaths as part of the annual Remembrance Day parade from Fort Charlotte to the Lerwick War Memorial.

The Shetland wreath.

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