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Throughout the night of 30 June 2016 vigils are being held across the United

Kingdom to commemorate the centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme.

At a national level vigils are being held in:

Westminster Abbey around the Grave of the UnknownWarrior,

The Scottish NationalWar Memorial in Edinburgh Castle,

Clandeboye and Helen’sTower, Co Down, Northern Ireland, in association

with the Somme Heritage Centre,

TheWelsh NationalWar Memorial, in Cardiff.

A vigil will also take place at theThiepval Memorial in France.This Memorial,

inaugurated in August 1932, commemorates the Missing of the Somme

battlefields and bears the names of 72,194 officers and men who have no known

grave. Over 90% of these men died in battles on the Somme between 1 July and

18 November 1916.



, from the Latin


meaning wakefulness is a period of purposeful

sleeplessness, an occasion for devotional watching, or an observance. In medieval

times, a squire’s vigil would comprise of a night of prayer in a chapel on the eve

of his knighting ceremony. In November 1920 a vigil was kept around the coffin

of Britain’s UnknownWarrior on his journey from France to his internment in

Westminster Abbey.

From 1845hrs on 30 June 2016, until 0730hrs 1 July 2016, serving personnel

from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines,Army and Royal Air Force, accompanied by

ServiceVeterans from the:

Royal Naval Association,

Association ofWrens –Women of the Royal Naval Services,

Scots Guards Association,

The Royal Scots Association,

The King’s Own Scottish Borderers Association,

The BlackWatch Association,

Royal Army Service Corps and Royal Corps of Transport Association,

Royal Air Forces Association,

Legion Scotland.