Bid to restore trenches used in World War One training

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Remains of moorland trenches that were used for training soldiers before they went to the Western Front could be restored as part of Sheffield’s commemorations of the centenary of World War One.

A network of trenches was cut by volunteers and military personnel at remote and windswept Redmires to the west of the city for training over five months of the ‘Sheffield Pals’.

More than 500 of the 12th battalion of the York and Lancasters were to die in Serre on the first day of the battle of the Somme in 1916.

Similar trench networks have been preserved on the Continent, and now it is hoped to create a similar record in Sheffield with funding from the Ministry of Defence.

“An application was previously made for £80,000 for the project which was refused but a revised application is now being made,” said Col Geoffrey Norton, chairman of the trustees of the York and Lancaster Regimental Association, who is helping to organise centenary events.

Activities in Sheffield during next year’s centenary will include services at Sheffield Cathedral to mark the anniversary of the start of the war and the battles of the Somme and Jutland.

Cathedral officials and the council are planning an education programme involving schools.

Col Norton is organising a trip for 100 people including civic dignitaries to the Somme Battlefield in 1916 to visit locations such as the Sheffield Memorial Park at Serre. It is also hoped to involve schools in Serre and Bapaume, another town on the Somme, which were rebuilt with financial contributions from people in Sheffield. “We are hoping to involve schools from the towns,” he said.