The Ancre Somme Association was born out of a Somme Anniversary trip by a group of County Armagh people in 2006. The Association was officially formed in 2009 at the graveside of Sir William Allen. William Allen was a Linen manufacturer, Unionist politician and a Soldier and during the Great War he served with the 36th (Ulster) Division, ending the war as a battalion commander.
The majority of Co. Armagh men who fell on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme served with the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. These men were buried where they had fallen, thus creating what became the Ancre British Military Cemetery, a place with resonating significance for those from Co Armagh, hence the name chosen for the association.
As interest in The Great War has grown over the last decade so has the membership and our range of projects. The association has grown far beyond the expectations of the founder members.
It quickly became apparent that others shared the same views and permission was granted to establish a branch in Scotland. The Scottish Branch has complimented the Ancre Somme Association as they honour all Scots who served in the Great War, and all subsequent wars & conflicts.
The Ancre Cemetery represents the sacrifice of all parts of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth and the Ancre Somme Association, which takes its name from it, provides a vehicle for remembering the sacrifice made in both world wars and more recent wars and conflicts.
Membership of the Ancre Somme Association is open to all, there are no restrictions. All we ask of our membership is that they support our core objectives which are Education, Remembrance and Supporting our Armed Forces charities.
Ancre Somme Association
Lt Col Ant Maher
As your Patron I take up the baton and will rise to the challenge. I fully support The Ancre Somme Association's Mission, 'To Actively Commemorate, Educate & Raise Awareness on the Events Preceding, Surrounding and Following the Battle of the Somme Including Subsequent Conflicts, Battles & Wars.'
I believe that we as an Association can march forward, or as the Royal Irish Fusiliers war cry stated we can Clear the Way (Faugh a Ballagh). It is an honour to be the Patron of The Ancre Somme Association.
Lt Col Maher has had a varied career in the Army serving on operations in Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan.
His service has seen operational deployment in every rank from Second Lieutenant to Lieutenant Colonel.
He is is a married man with children and Chairman of the London Irish Rifles Assoc, Northern Ireland Branch.
As Chairman of the Friends of Brownlow House, I have been privileged over many years to help and support the Ancre Somme Association.
They have been extremely active over the years promoting our shared history and highlighting the sacrifice of our young men and women during the Great war, through drama, poetry, written word, exhibitions and festivals.
The Association recently celebrated it's 10th Anniversary and in those 10 years they have helped educate our communities, organised many commemoration events and supported various military charities across the United Kingdom.
There is no question in my mind that the Association continue to give people, particulary our young people, a better understanding regarding those brave men and women who have, and continue to serve, in Her Majesty's Armed Forces.
Carla Lockhart MP
It is an honour and a privilege to hold the role of Ambassador for the Ancre Somme Association.
In today’s society more than ever we must all play a role in remembering and educating our young people about the sacrifice paid by our serving and ex-service personnel.
We owe a great debt of gratitude to the men and women who were prepared to fight for our civil and religious liberties.
Being from Northern Ireland we think of all service personnel and innocent victims who in our own conflict paid the ultimate sacrifice whilst standing in the line of duty between law abiding citizens and terrorism.
I commend and congratulate the Ancre Somme Association for what they have done to date and look forward to working with them again in the near future.
Andy Allen MBE MLA
I first met members of the Ancre Somme Association a number of years ago and I was moved by the passion and commitment they exerted to honour the men of the 36th Ulster Division.
I remember one particular evening vividly, on the 28th June 2014 the Association organised “The Great War Commemoration Parade”. As we waited to form up for the parade, I looked around and the sight was quite remarkable, there were men, women and children dressed in period costume and I had to look twice as the resemblance to those who served during the Great War was breathtaking.
The Association has evolved over the years. Remembering those from both World Wars right through to the present day and the most recent conflict in Afghanistan.
I was delighted to make a presentation to the Association recently in recognition for the support they have shown my charity, AA Veterans Support.
Cllr Stephen Moutray
I first came in contact with The Ancre Somme Association some years ago as I was asked to facilitate a wreath laying event at the tomb of Lord Craigavon at Parliament Buildings, Stormont. I am glad that I was able to oblige and indeed that this event has become an annual event in November each year.
The Ancre Somme Association has over the past decade developed across the province, indeed the United Kingdom, and been a catalyst for arranging events and ceremonies appropriate to the Centenaries that the wider public wish to mark.
It never ceases to amaze me, the planning and effort the Ancre Somme Association makes in every occasion that it is involved in. I am very proud to be an Honorary member and wish them all the best for the future.
Educational Outreach Officer
I am a former teacher of Antrim Primary School. In 2014 i took up the role of Principal in Lisnadill Primary School, Armagh.
From a young age, I have always had an avid interest in World War 1 and 2. The Battle of the Somme was a war that will always be etched in the annals of time. The bravery, sacrifice and dedication of those who served should never be forgotten. Children should learn and understand that these historical battles helped shape our identity in the United Kingdom.
As Educational Outreach Officer of the Ancre Somme Association, I am determined that the present and next generation of our children will learn, remember and be proud of those brave men and woman who have served, and are currently serving, in Her Majesty's Armed Forces.
Strategic planning is integral to all dynamic decision making and should be at the very core of all forward thinking organisations.
I commanded a multi national staff branch in Afghanistan that was charged with liasing with international aid agencies (UN, Red Cross etc). We had to dove tail their services into the civillian population whilst simultaneously a highly kinetic
fighting situation raged around us. As a multi national force we were highly successful because of our Strategic long term planning strategies looking into the future whilst being fully concious of past endeavours and mistakes.
The Ancre Somme Association has for the last ten years been a forward leaning organisation that understands its core functions of Education/Rememberance/
Welfare whilst having its feet literally and metaphorically firmly planted in the community and on the ground.
As we look back on our achievements there are to many to mention, but having
Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for Co Armagh, The Earl of Caledon KCVO unveil a bust of Rfn McFadzean VC with Rfn McFadzean VC’s great Nephew in attendance in the town of his birth is incredibly memorable and a deed that will outlive all of us and one I am exceptionally proud to have been part of.
As Patron of the ASA I would encourge you to download our Strategic Plan.
Lt Col Ant Maher, Patron.
ULSTER TOWER COLLECTION
We are always looking for people from a variety of backgrounds who feel they have something to give to the Ancre Somme Association. Our Volunteers are of all ages and backgrounds. There is no specific experience required to becoming a Volunteer. All you need is a passion to support our Charity.
As a small charity, Volunteers are vital to us to help raise our profile - and awareness - throughout the UK. If you would like to become a member why not send us a message today.
Ancre Somme Association
Email: [email protected]