Former soldier marks Somme centenary in Dereham

Ex Light Dragoon Liam Young blows the whistle at Dereham's war memorial to mark the centenary of the

Ex Light Dragoon Liam Young blows the whistle at Dereham's war memorial to mark the centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme - Credit: Kathryn Cross

At precisely 7.30am the sound of a whistle pierced the slowly-waking town of Dereham this morning as a former soldier marked the centenary of the start of the bloodiest battle in history.

A small area of long grasses and wildflowers, including poppies, grow beside the war memorial in Der

A small area of long grasses and wildflowers, including poppies, grow beside the war memorial in Dereham where a whistle was blown to mark the centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme - Credit: Kathryn Cross

Liam Young, an ex-Light Dragoon, stood in front of the town's war memorial to mark the moment, 100 years ago, that thousands of soldiers went over the top on the French battlefield never to return.

Mr Young, who wore the medals of his great-grandfather Cpl Robert Rogers, said he was nervous and also had a mixture of emotions.

He said: 'My great-grandfather fought in the war and although he survived he was hit in the legs and the guts by shrapnel and my family said he lived in constant pain for the rest of his life.

'I felt really emotional in front of the memorial. It is strange to feel like that for someone you never met and I only saw a photo of him last year.

Ex Light Dragoon Liam Young blows the whistle at Dereham's war memorial to mark the centenary of the

Ex Light Dragoon Liam Young blows the whistle at Dereham's war memorial to mark the centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme - Credit: Kathryn Cross

'You just think of all the men, who probably had worked together in the same factory or played rugby at the same club, sitting there in the trenches the night before.

'They had no idea that they were going to go over and look into the gates of hell and that would be it.'

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Since leaving the army, having been medically discharged due to injuries suffered in the course of duty, Mr Young has become an active member of the Royal British Legion.

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