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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 March 2006, 10:16 GMT
Somme deaths of Pals commemorated
British troops at the Battle of the Somme
The regiment lost almost 600 men on the first day of the battle
The 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, in which the Accrington Pals suffered horrific losses, is to be commemorated in their home town.

Some 584 men from the 11th East Lancashire Regiment died on the first day of the World War I battle in 1916.

They will be honoured on the weekend of 3 July with exhibitions, a memorial service and wreath-laying.

A memorial will be unveiled to the men on Sunday 4 July outside St James' Church in Accrington.

Huge losses

Council leader Peter Britcliffe said people in the town will never want to forget the Pals.

"I think it's very, very important that we always remember these people," he said.

"It's these people who actually gave us the freedom to enjoy ourselves as we do today and I think they should always be remembered."

No less than 20,000 British soldiers died and a further 40,000 were injured on 1 July 1916 - the first day of the battle.

It remains the single largest loss in British military history.

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