Chorley’s lost war heroes are being honoured in the centre of the town as it prepares to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War.
The Mayor, MP, and former soldiers were among those who formally opened the ‘Silent Soldier’ silhouette in the raised poppy flower bed outside the Union Street council offices on Friday (July 20).
Coun Aaron Beaver, the council’s Armed Forces Champion and a veteran of 36 years, explained while the display is to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, it exists to remember all who have fallen in conflict.
Coun Beaver said: “It’s for Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq – all conflicts. It is remembrance to remember all.”
Among those at the unveiling was Chorley Mayor Margaret Lees, whose grandfather, Private John Lawrenson, died in the Battle of the Somme after being shot on the first day. He died three days later.
The site was also chosen with it being in sight of the Flat Iron – the location where the Chorley Pals gathered prior to parading by the council offices on their way to the front line in 1914 and 1915.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle said: “Chorley is fiercely proud of the young men who marched off to war from our town in 1914; the last four years have been a chance for us all to pay our respects in different ways.
“We’ve had large scale events and unveilings like the Pals Memorial and the updating of the names of our fallen on the Cenotaph.”
Sir Lindsay added: “The silent soldier is yet another moving tribute from our town to those who fought and who died in the Great War to ensure that we will remember them.”
The silhouette is part of the Royal British Legion’s Silent Soldier Campaign to mark the end of the Great War. Similar statues exist in Preston railway station and throughout Longridge in the Ribble Valley.
And while Coun Beaver has confirmed that the silhouette will remain in place outside the council offices for the remainder of the year, he is campaigning to confirm it as a mainstay on the street.
“We’re having a Labour Group meeting tonight [Monday] and a council meeting tomorrow,” he explained. “I just want to try and find something to stay.”
He is also President of the Chorley Breakfast Club, a place for veterans to gather if they are in need or advice and guidance after serving.