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Shared UK-Irish centenary for Battle of Messines

The First World War battle took place in 1917. Photo: NIO

A joint British and Irish commemoration has been announced to mark the centenary of the Battle of Messines Ridge.

The battle, which took place in June 1917, has symbolic significance as it was the first time that the 36th Ulster and 16th Irish Divisions fought together in the First World War.

A statement said the UK and Irish governments are committed to working together to deliver a shared ceremony of commemoration on 7 June.

It will take place at the Island of Ireland Peace Park in Messines, Belgium and people will be able to apply for tickets if they wish to attend.

Secretary of State James Brokenshire said: “This shared ceremony is an opportunity to remember the service and sacrifice of those who fought at Messines Ridge, as well as to further strengthen the important relationship that exists between the United Kingdom and Ireland.”

Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charles Flanagan said: "Almost a century ago, on 7 June 1917, men and women from across the island of Ireland took part in the Battle of Messines in Flanders, Belgium.

"For the first time during World War One, soldiers from the 36th (Ulster) Division and the 16th (Irish) Division fought side by side.

"Those from the island of Ireland were brought together by diverse motivations but they shared a common purpose as soldiers and, caught up in the grim realities of war, no doubt a common desire: to survive and return home.”

More details are available on the Northern Ireland Office website.