A WHISTLE was blown in Aberystwyth in the early hours of Friday morning to remember the moment which signalled the start of the bloodiest battle in human history.

People gathered in silence at the Salvation Army, Alexandra Road, at 7.30am on Friday, 1 July, to mark the exact moment 100 years ago when officers blew their whistles to signal the advance towards German lines in the opening moments of the Battle of the Somme — a battle which would claim the lives of more than a million men.

On the eve of the centenary, Aberaeron councillor Elizabeth Evans spoke in a county council meeting about an Aberystwyth University student and Aberystwyth Town Football Club player, Leigh Richmond ‘Dick’ Roose, who died towards the end of the Battle of the Somme, aged 38.

Roose, who was awarded a medal for bravery in the early stages of the battle, was a Welsh international goalkeeper and played for the likes of Stoke, Arsenal and Aston Villa.

Cllr Elizabeth Evans told the Cambrian News: “I found out because my own great uncle’s name is on the monument and so I was doing my own research about him.

“Leigh Richmond Roose’s name stood out because he was a student at Aberystwyth University, he played for Aberystwyth Town FC and won 24 caps for Wales. There are also lots of names of international Welsh rugby players on there.

“With the Welsh football team going into the quarter finals tomorrow (Friday), when we stood and commemorated those who died in the Battle of the Somme, it seemed a fitting moment to remember a talented sportsman from the area who gave his life in the war.”

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