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Jeremy Corbyn and veterans pay tribute to Islington’s 750 Battle of the Somme dead

PUBLISHED: 10:31 22 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:38 22 November 2016

Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn with veterans, servicemen and councillors at the Manor Gardens unveiling of a plaque dedicated to the Islington men who lost their lives in the Battle of the Somme 100 years ago. Picture: Polly Hancock

Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn with veterans, servicemen and councillors at the Manor Gardens unveiling of a plaque dedicated to the Islington men who lost their lives in the Battle of the Somme 100 years ago. Picture: Polly Hancock

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Relatives of Islington soldiers killed in the Battle of the Somme unveiled a memorial plaque to mark the centenary of the conflict.

Islington Veterans Association lower the flag as the Last Post is played at the Manor Gardens unveiling of a commemorative plaque dedicated to the Islington men who lost their lives in the Battle of the Somme. Picture: Polly HancockIslington Veterans Association lower the flag as the Last Post is played at the Manor Gardens unveiling of a commemorative plaque dedicated to the Islington men who lost their lives in the Battle of the Somme. Picture: Polly Hancock

The service, at Royal Northern Gardens in Holloway, was organised by Islington Veterans’ Association and the council on Friday. Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn was also there.

Some 750 people from Islington were among the 420,000 British soldiers who died at the Somme.

“The battle affected the people of Islington and Finsbury enormously - it was a very moving service,” veteran Peter McCafferty, formerly of Holloway, told the Gazette.

“We can’t commemorate enough the men and woman that have died in conflict.”

At a meeting at North Library following the service Christopher Garnsworthy, whose great uncle Sgt Hugh Hember died at the Somme, gave a presentation on letters sent from the battlefield by Sgt Hember to his brother.

The letters, which detail life in the trenches, were the subject of an exhibition at Islington Museum earlier this year.

The Manor Gardens Battle of the Somme plaque unveiling on Friday. Picture: Polly HancockThe Manor Gardens Battle of the Somme plaque unveiling on Friday. Picture: Polly Hancock

Mr Corbyn said a letter by Sgt Hember discussing the carnage of conflict stuck in his mind particularly.

“In the letter he wrote that men should solve their differences in a different way than by damaging life and property,” said Mr Corbyn.

Relatives of Thomas John Holding, an Islington man who died at the battle, had travelled from Scotland to unveil the plaque.

“This is an ideal assembly to honour those who died,” said Pat Ludlow, one of three descendants of Mr Holding in attendance.

Mayor of Islington Cllr Kat Fletcher, who laid one of five wreaths to honour the dead, emphasised the importance of the anniversary of the battle.

She said: “I think it’s been a wonderful, poignant moment to bring together the veterans, and it’s vital that we remember those who lost their lives.”

More than 1.1million people are believed to have died at the Battle of the Somme.


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