IT was a conflict which claimed the lives of an estimated 9,200 Bolton soldiers. And on the centenary of the outbreak of World War One, the town fell silent to remember them.
A bugler played The Last Post and wreaths were laid by representatives of the armed forces, at the war memorial in Victoria Square. Hundreds of shoppers and town centre workers paid their respects as the Rev Matt Thompson told people they should remember the scale of the devastation and “colossal loss of life” that ensued over the four-year conflict.
BOLTON fell silent to remember the 9,200 soldiers from the town who lost their lives in World War One — on the centenary of the start of the conflict.
Shoppers stopped in Victoria Square to join MPs and councillors in paying their respects to the fallen.
The Great War, one of the deadliest in history, broke out on August 4, 1914.
Current and former servicemen and women paraded through Victoria Square as the Rev Matthew Thompson, from Bolton Parish Church, led a service to commemorate the anniversary.
A bugler played The Last Post to usher in a two-minute silence at 11am, and a brass band accompanied hymns and the national anthem.
Mr Thompson said it was important people remembered the scale of the devastation and “colossal loss of life” that ensued over the four years of the war.
Dozens of councillors watched as the Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Martin Donaghy, laid the first wreath at the war memorial.
MPs David Crausby and Yasmin Qureshi, as well as representatives from the armed services, Army and Sea Cadets, Greater Manchester Police and associations of ex-servicemen also laid wreaths.
Ms Qureshi, MP for Bolton South East, said: “Bearing in mind that 900,000 British lives were lost, it is only right we pay tribute to them “We should be remembering not only those who died, but also those who went through it all and then grew old remembering what had happened.
"It is always a great pleasure, but at the same time very sad, to lay these wreaths. But it is only right to remember those who gave their lives.”
The service took place in the warm sunshine, with three members of the Army Cadets requiring treatment from paramedics after appearing to faint.
They all returned to their feet to march out of the square at the end of the service.
Cllr Cliff Morris, Bolton Council leader, said: “It was an excellent service and a fitting way to remember those that gave their lives for us. There was also a very large crowd who were quiet and showed respect, which was fantastic to see.”
Tonight, a candle-lit vigil is to be held in the grounds of Bolton Parish Church to complete the town’s anniversary commemorations.
Lights will be turned off and candles blown out at 11pm — the exact time war broke out 100 years ago to the day.