VIDEO: WW1 Soldiers march through Sheffield

A group of protesters, dressed as First World War soldiers, paraded through the streets of Sheffield in opposition to the felling of memorial trees in the Crookesmoor area of the city.

The march, which took place this weekend, coincided with the centenary of the memorial trees along Oxford Street, Tay Street and Western Road.

It was organised by Sheffield Tree Action Group (STAG) in partnership with the Royal British Legion.

Nine soldiers in traditional ‘pals’ battalion uniforms were led by a stern drill sergeant from Sheffield train station to the corner of Oxford Street and Tay Street.

The ‘pals’ battalion initiative encouraged men to enlist to fight with their friends and neighbours, this resulted in entire streets being left without their young men.

The trees along Oxford Street and Tay Street were some of the first to be planted in the UK to commemorate these fallen soldiers.

Nine of the 1917 memorial trees have been marked up for felling by Sheffield City Council and Amey, in a bid to improve the quality of pavements and road surfaces in the area.

Soldiers marched from Sheffield Rail Station

The trees were originally paid for by local residents and members of Crookesmoor Boys’ School to commemorate 77 of their former pupils who went to fight.

A commemorative banner for a fallen solider

Sheffield Tree Action Group said: “All nine trees could be saved by using the engineering solutions included in the contract with Amey, at no extra cost to the council. With the care due to them these memorial trees have decades of life ahead of them.”

During their march the battalion stopped at Weston Park war memorial and shared a few traditional marching songs with park visitors.

This included their version of the song It’s a long way to Tipperary.

Protesters standing in front of western park war memorial

Dignitaries Pam Liversidge OBE, Deputy Lieutenant of South Yorkshire and Christine Spender, Royal British Legion County Chairman both gave speeches at the concluding ceremony overlooking Crookes Valley Park.

Members of the British Legion then saluted Crookesmoor’s fallen soldiers with a horn rendition of The Last Post which was followed by a two minutes’ silence to mark the centenary.

Christine Spender gives a rousing speech about Crookesmoor’s trees

People were then invited to enjoy a tour of the 30 memorial trees that had been planted for The Crookesmoor Boys’ School including trees along Western Road.

Each tree had been marked with soldiers’ names, information about their lives and their involvement in the war.

Each tree had been marked with Soldiers names and details about their life

Conducting the ceremony Councillor Magid Magid, Green Party councillor for Broomhill and Sharrowvale, said: “These trees hold such an important and significant value not just for the community but for current servicemen and the men who have long passed away. It’s something we want to carry on honoring so hopefully the fact that they’re healthy trees mean they will be left standing.”