Leeds soldiers mark First World War battle

COMMEMORATION: Former service personnel at the ceremony.
COMMEMORATION: Former service personnel at the ceremony.
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Army Reserve soldiers from Leeds were joined by local veterans for the annual commemoration of the First World War Battle of Bligny.

Soldiers from 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (4 Yorks) paraded at Leeds Minster to mark the 99th anniversary of the battle honour won in France.

The Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Doctor Ingrid Roscoe took the salute and was joined on the dais by Colonel Rory Radford of the Canadian Defence Liaison Staff in London and the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jan Dowson.

The fierce action at Bligny Ridge took place during the Battle of Tardenois in July 1918. The Territorials of the 8th (Leeds Rifles) Battalion The West Yorkshire Regiment captured the ridge and held it despite strong German opposition.

The French government awarded a rare unit Croix de Guerre (Cross of War) to the 
battalion of Leeds soldiers, recognising their bravery and resolve.

The original Croix de Guerre decoration and citation was laid up by the 8th (Leeds Rifles) Battalion within York Minster in 1921 and is displayed in the Chapel of The West Yorkshire Regiment.

Today’s 4 Yorks soldiers are the descendants of the Leeds Rifles and are based at Harewood Barracks Army Reserve Centre on Skinner Lane, Leeds. They attended the short service of commemoration led by the Rector of Leeds Minster, the Rev Canon Sam Corley. Wreaths were laid at the Leeds Rifles memorial and music was provided by the Band of The Yorkshire Regiment.

Major Steve Jones, Company Commander of Corunna Company, said: “Having just come off an infantry exercise at Catterick this morning, I was very proud to see my soldiers smart on parade at midday, remembering our shared history with pride.”