The 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme took place in 2006. It was one of the hottest anniversaries with temperatures close to 40 degrees Celsius. It was attended by over 2000 people.
We had the pleasure again to welcome our President HRH Prince Richard, The Duke of Gloucester KG, GCVO, GCStJ, FRIBA, seen in this picture with our Vice President Viscount Alan Brookeborough KG, KStJ, Viscountess Brookeborough and our former Chairman Dr Ian Adamson OBE.
On the 90th anniversary, the Somme Association also opened Thiepval Wood which it had purchased in 2004 and from where the 36th (Ulster) Division had made their historic charge on the 1st July 1916. A community volunteer and archaeological project had been established to:
- Determine the character and state of preservation of any Great War remains which may survive in the wood. This would serve to provide academic research and further archaeological data, as well as help the Somme Association with the future conservation and management of the site by providing them with details of the character and condition of the surviving features.
- Enhance public understanding of the remains within the wood through exhibition within the Ulster Memorial Tower of the results of the excavations, and to provide additional interpretive material for their displays and publications.
- To provide an opportunity for members of the Somme Association to become directly involved in the heritage of their site through participation in the archaeological process.
- Through suitable publicity/media involvement to demonstrate publicly the importance and vulnerability of these remains, and the necessity for their controlled investigation, and protection from looting and vandalism.