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Hundreds attend Armistice Day event at Belfast City Hall

Silence fell during a ceremony in the grounds of Belfast City Hall. Credit: Pacemaker

Up to 1,000 have people have gathered in Belfast to remember the war dead on Armistice Day.

A two-minute silence was held during a short ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance in the grounds of the City Hall.

DUP Lord Mayor Brian Kingston and Sinn Féin Deputy Lord Mayor Mary Ellen Campbell were among those who took part in the low-key event.

Mr Kingston described the turnout as impressive.

He said: "It just shows that people do have that appreciation and to show their recognition of all who served in two world wars and subsequent conflicts, and in particular those who made the ultimate sacrifice in upholding the freedom and democracies that we enjoy today.

"I was very impressed by the turnout that we had for the simple ceremony."

Northern Ireland Office Minister Kris Hopkins and SDLP councillor Tim Attwood were also among the crowd, which included military veterans and their families.

Similar ceremonies were held across the region, with First Minister Arlene Foster among those who paused to reflect at the war memorial in Enniskillen.

In 2013, Sinn Fein's Mairtin O Muilleoir made history as the first republican Lord Mayor to participate in an Armistice Day event at the Belfast cenotaph.

Previously, November's remembrance events in Northern Ireland were boycotted due to the association with the British military.

Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn, remembers Somme dead

Credit: Ministry of Defence

Thiepval Barracks, headquarters of the British Army in Northern Ireland, has held its own service of remembrance.

The event was led by 38th Brigade's senior chaplain, Rev Alex Bennett, and commemorated all those who lost their lives in the Battle of the Somme.

Credit: Ministry of Defence

He said, "the sacrifice not only across the UK and Commonwealth, but also from those Irish soldiers who gave their lives at The Somme and also in other battles of the First World War should never be forgotten".

Credit: Ministry of Defence

The Last Post was sounded and a wreath laid, on behalf of the Armed Forces in Northern Ireland at the memorial to the 36th Ulster Division.

Thiepval service 'an extremely moving occasion'

Credit: PA

UTV's Paul Clark is reporting from in front of the Ulster Tower at Thiepval, northern France.

He said it was "an extremely moving occasion, made all the more so because it really is so quiet here".

The soldiers "would have known, of course, that there was a great likelihood that they were going to be killed," he said - "they would have obeyed orders, they would have gone out into 'no man's land' and hoped for the best".

Speaking of the great sacrifice of soldiers at the Somme, Paul said: "Something what gets lost in all of this is that it wasn't just the Ulster Division. It was just one part of a major effort along this front, made up of people from Newfoundland, from Canada, from other parts of what was the British Empire.

"The Ulster Division was one part of that, but one part that was actually very successful, it achieved its objective on 1 July."


Co Down holds Somme centenary vigil

Credit: Pacemaker

An overnight vigil is being held to mark the centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme.

The event is being held at the Somme Heritage Centre, near Newtownards in Co Down, and began at 7pm on Thursday.

Similar events are being held across the UK - at Edinburgh, Cardiff, and London's Westminster Abbey.

Some 2,000 soldiers from the 36th Ulster Division lost their lives in the battle.

The event will end with a service on Friday morning, including whistles blown at 7:28am - the exact time when soldiers went 'over the top' of the trenches to engage in one of the bloodiest battles in history.