Manchester Hill remembered

March 21, 2018

On Friday 13 April 2018, 8.00pm – 9.00pm, the centenary of the First World War Battle of Manchester Hill will be marked by a unique cultural event in Manchester Cathedral. The multi media event, involving over 60 artists and performers, will be an immersive performance of new music, poetry, spoken word, and digital projection.

The event has received support from the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment through the Armed Forces Covenant. The unique, one-off performance will convey the hidden story of the battle, the sacrifice made by those who fought and lost their lives there and its significance in marking the beginning of the end of the First World War.

Manchester Hill was an important defensive position in Northern France, overlooking the town of St Quentin which was held by the Germans. It was given its name after being captured in April 1917 by the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment, which included the war poet Wilfrid Owen. On 20 March 1918 the Germans launched a series of attacks against British and French positions. Manchester Hill was valiantly but ultimately unsuccessfully defended by the 16th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment, led by Lt Col Wilfrith Elstob, against the overwhelming superiority of the German infantry and artillery.

Of the 168 men of the 16th Battalion who fought to defend the position, only 17 managed to return to the British Lines. In total 79, including Lt Col Elstob, were killed and the rest were either wounded or taken into captivity as prisoners of war. Elstob was posthumously awarded the VC for his gallantry. The current Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, which formed on 1 July 2006, now incorporates the Manchester Regiment, along with six other North West regiments from the First World War.

Tickets: The event will be ticketed, but free of charge. Book online through Eventbrite 

The performance will be approx. 1 hour long. This is a standing performance. There will be limited priority seating for people who may have difficulty standing for this duration of time.

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