February 2014: Students join dignitaries to remember fallen


TEN students from Haslingden High School joined civic dignitaries and parishioners for a special service to remember the Accrington Pals.

They attended St John’s Church, Accrington, where there is a special chapel dedicated to the Pals and laid a wreath to commemorate the fallen.

History teacher Mandy Pollard said: “The students were all from my Year 9 history group.  As part of their GCSE studies, we have learnt about the Accrington Pals and our intention is to become more and more involved in these services over the next two years. It is so relevant to the course.

“There was a lovely atmosphere inside the church and the students were superb representatives for their year group and the school.”

The pals, 36 officers and 1,076 men, enlisted in 10 days in July 1914. A valedictory service was held in February 1915 at St John’s Church two days before the men left for training. In July 1916, at the Battle of the Somme, 230 pals were killed and 350 were injured in just 20 minutes.

Laurie Ashcroft, 14, laid a wreath at the ceremony and Charlotte Walmsley, 14, led by standing up in front of the packed church and reading from the order of service.

Erin Wilson, 14, said: “There were a lot of standards there and a lot of soldiers in uniform.”

Laurie said: “It was quite emotional to be representing our school at such an occasion when we were remembering the sacrifice others had made. It was a mixture of emotions because I also felt very proud.”

Annie Ryder, 13, said: “It may be nearly 100 years ago but everyone still remembers the Pals and took time to be at the church for the service.

“We remembered what the Accrington Pals did, where they came from and what it was like for the people they left back home.”