A VIGIL commemorating the victims of the most horrific battle of the First World War is set to take place to mark a market town's fallen.

Yarm residents will be remembering the townsfolk who were killed during the Battle of the Somme on the eve of the centenary of the beginning of the four and half month campaign.

The vigil, which will start at 10pm on Thursday at the War Memorial, is one of the key elements of a four-year programme of events being held to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the 1914-18 war.

Peter Monck, chairman of the Yarm 1914 Group, said: “We are commemorating that terrible battle and remembering the courage of the men who fought , and we hope that local people will do likewise by attending the eve of battle vigil and the Sunday service, parade and exhibition which are supported by the Heritage Lottery.”

On July 1 1916 in the rolling countryside of the Somme in Northern France some 100,000 infantrymen of the British Army climbed out of their trenches to attack German positions. By that evening almost 60,000 were dead.

The Green Howards were among the attackers and in one sector thirteen officers and more than 300 other ranks were mown down as they walked towards the enemy.

Soldiers of The Yorkshire Regiment, which has absorbed The Green Howards, will be in the parade on Sunday, July 3, which starts at 10.30am. There will be performances by choirs, poetry readings and an Army Cadet climbing wall. In the evening there will be a screening of the Imperial War Museum Film “Battle of the Somme” in Yarm Fellowship Hall.