Page last updated at 16:10 GMT, Sunday, 28 February 2010

Unveiling of WWI Chorley Pals' memorial

Chorley Pals Memorial
The memorial has been three years in the planning

A memorial has been unveiled after three years of fundraising to the 222 Chorley Pals who served in World War I.

The 7ft (2m)-high statue of a uniformed soldier on a plinth, overlooking Chorley's main market, was unveiled in an official ceremony on Sunday.

It features the names of the men who served with the company.

The Chorley Pals eventually joined the better-known Accrington Pals and were decimated at the opening of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916.

The unveiling was to mark 95 years since the Pals left the town to go to war.

'Brave men'

A parade of soldiers from the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, accompanied by their regimental band and colour party, left the TA Centre in Devonshire Road.

They retraced the steps the Chorley Pals took when they marched off to war in February 1915.

Before the ceremony, six members of the Manchester Regiment 1914-1918 were "on parade" in front of the memorial, dressed in uniforms and kit from the period.

Steve Williams, Chorley Pals Memorial Secretary and Trustee, said: "The memorial has generated a tremendous amount of interest over the last three years."

Pals' relatives

When war broke out in August 1914, Capt James Milton from Chorley formed a Pals battalion with 30 local men signing up. They went on to join a newly-raised battalion at Accrington.

They eventually became the Y Company of the 11th Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment.

MP Lindsay Hoyle, who was involved in the fundraising for the statue, performed the official opening.

Relatives of the Pals, civic leaders, and representatives of the Royal British Legion, Chorley Ex-Service Association and the Duke of Lancaster's Regimental Association took part in the ceremony.



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SEE ALSO
Sculpture tribute to Chorley Pals
22 May 09 |  Lancashire
Somme deaths of Pals commemorated
08 Mar 06 |  Lancashire

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