Special tribute to soldiers who fell in 1917 battle

Information boards at Egerton Lodge displaying details about fallen Melton soldiers during the First World War EMN-170726-131705001
Information boards at Egerton Lodge displaying details about fallen Melton soldiers during the First World War EMN-170726-131705001

The spirit of the trenches will be evoked in Melton on Sunday at a special service to mark the 100th anniversary of one of the most infamous battles of the First World War.

Dozens of Melton soldiers were among the almost three-quarters of a million British casualties at Passchendaele.

The local troops were fighting with the Leicestershire Regiment as they attacked a key German stronghold in the Flanders region ofBelgium.

In honour of their sacrifice the town branch of the Royal British Legion has organised a Drumhead service at Sage Cross Methodist Church, at 12.15pm on Sunday.

Drums will be stacked, as they were for military services out in the open during the Great War, to create a makeshift altar for Rev James Skinner to conduct the service.

Organiser Mark Whitehead said: “Passchendaele, with the Somme, was one of the big battles of the First World War and we thought it was important to remember it, and the part played by Melton soldiers.

“There were so many British casualties - and 63 of them were from Melton.

“They used to have these Drumhead services in the war when there wasn’t an altar available.

“The Melton Band will be kindly allowing us to use their drums for the service.”

Melton legion president, Peter Roffey, will play the Last Post at the service, which will be attended by service personnel from the town’s Defence Animal Centre and dignataries such as Mayor of Melton, Councillor Tejpal Bains.

The Battle of Passchendaele , also known as the third Battle of Ypres, raged for three months from July 31, 1917.

l People have until Monday to vote for Melton’s historic Drill Hall to receive a coveted county council green plaque. Town troops marched off to fight in the First World War from the building.

Go to www.leicestershire.gov.uk/greenplaques to vote.