On Friday 1 July 2016 Victoria Prentis MP attended two local events to commemorate the centenary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme. In the century since the beginning of the largest battle of the First World War, the Somme has become notorious for the incomprehensible scale of the losses suffered by the British Army.

Victoria began the day by attending a silent vigil at St Mary’s Church in Banbury, during which the congregation reflected on the loses of both sides. In the evening Victoria joined representatives of Chipping Norton Royal British Legion, Colonel John Bridgeman (Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire) and local villagers at a commemoration at the church of St Nicholas in Tadmarton. The names of soldiers from Tadmarton who had fought in the battle were read out, followed by reflective poems and prayers for those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our county.

Speaking after the event in Tadmarton, Victoria said, “It is sobering to think that over one million soldiers sacrificed their lives during the five months of the offensive. We must make sure that we, and the generations to come, remember the brave men who gave their lives for this country. The wounds of the Somme offensive still run deep, but we should be thankful for the bravery of our soldiers throughout history and today.”