360 PHOTOS: Barnsley Pals return home in unique art work unveiled at Somme centenary service
The temporary public art work honours many of the 297 men who fell on the first day.
360 PHOTO: Take a look around the Barbnsley Pals art work in this amazing photo taken during the Somme centenary service - CLICK HERE.
They will be lit at night and on display until mid November to remind people the war raged for almost five months. It claimed a million lives including almost 800 of the Barnsley Pals, so-called because they came from the same communities, worked together, mainly in the coal mines, and in the end they died together.
Created by artists Neil Musson and Jono Retallick, the art work also features medals made by local school children and was unveiled during a 40-minute memorial service on the centenary itself, outside Barnsley Town Hall.
Geoff Griffiths from the British legion hosted the emotional event which included readings of poetry and letters send home from the Western front. Hundreds gathered and hounded in singing wartime songs including it's A Long Way To Tipperary, played by the Barnsley Metropolitan Band.
But the town came to a standstill for a minute's silence after the Last Post was played followed by the blowing of a whistle - the signal used to start the battle.
Veterans of WWII standing around the war memorial lowered their standards in respect as the the Barnsley Pals of the 13th and 14th York and Lancaster Regiment who fell on the first day, were remembered - the likes of three brothers Fred Walker, aged 35, Ernest, 33, and Charles, 31, illustrating the unimaginable loss to families as a generation was wiped out.
The silence was marked by Reveille and greeted with applause. Young men dressed in WWI uniforms poignantly marched past the art work after the service.
Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis and Barnsley East MP Michael Dugher attended special commemorations today in France along with Barnsley Mayor Coun Linda Burgess.
In Serre, the battlefield marked with a memorial where the Barnsley Pals went over the top from their trenches, poppies with individual names were today pinned to a tree to honour all those who died on July 1, 1916.
Barnsley Mayor Elect Coun Jeff Ennis, who led the civic part back home in Yorkshire, said: "Yorkshire had more soldiers killed at the Somme than any other region in the country and here in Barnsley we wanted to commemorate the centenary with something very special - this art work. We involved 300 primary children from schools throughout the borough to make medals for this memorial.
"We haven't been able to find photos of all those who died. What matters is children from Barnsley know what happened 100 years ago today."
Artists Neil Musson said: "People connect with people so we wanted to find as many of the faces of those who fell on the first day of the Somme. It was a very moving experience. We've got kids and all of these soldiers are somebody's children. It feels very personal."
Jono Retallick said: "You realise from the images some of them were not 18 years of age. When they signed up they would often write allegedly 18. Some of the editing I did of the photographs was of children, not 18 year old men.
"There was this camaraderie yes but a pressure in the community to go to war.
"We wanted to create something that echoed to the past but also looked to the future, so we worked with the young people and commissioned them to make medals, thinking about what they would want to take to war to think about home, connecting with their present."
* Stories from the Somme will be an exhibition of artefacts, archives and objects telling the story of the Barnsley Pals at Experience Barnsley museum, at the Towh Hall, from August 24.