Marching on in memory of First World war battle: How Leeds men overturned enemy forces

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A century ago soldiers from Yorkshire helped to change the course of the First World War.

They were ordinary men from the city of Leeds, many of whom worked at Tetley’s Brewery, who fought back from German defences to turn the tide of battle on the Western Front.

Standard bearers at today's service to mark the Bligny campaign in the First World War.

Standard bearers at today's service to mark the Bligny campaign in the First World War.

The 8th (Leeds Rifles) Battalion, The West Yorkshire Regiment was decorated with the French Croix De Guerre avec Palme en Bronze by the Commander of the French Fifth Army after it recaptured the front line at Bligny, a small commune in north eastern France.

And, as they have for decades since, the 4th Battalion of The Yorkshire Regiment paid tribute to colleagues of yesteryear with the annual Bligny Sunday parade at Leeds Minster.

Veterans, standard bearers, and the band of the Yorkshire Regiment joined the tribute this afternoon which was started by Rev Canon Sam Corley.

However, as 2018 marks 100 years since the end of the First World War it is likely that yesterday’s parade will be the last of its kind but the event will continue to be remembered.

The band of the Yorkshire Regiment were a major part of the celebrations.

The band of the Yorkshire Regiment were a major part of the celebrations.

David O’Kelly, regimental secretary of The Yorkshire Regiment, said: “The honour was rare if not unique for a regiment and there are all sorts of reasons to be proud of the occasion. We have been coming for many years, this will be the last time in this format.
“We felt the centenary is the time to move on ceremonially but not commemoratively.”

The battalion reported 14 dead, 96 wounded and 11 missing in battle.

The 4th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment paraded at today's service.

The 4th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment paraded at today's service.