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Thousands take part in Mini Twelfth parades

The annual Somme Commemoration parade, known as the ‘Mini Twelfth’, took place last night, including in east Belfast
The annual Somme Commemoration parade, known as the ‘Mini Twelfth’, took place last night, including in east Belfast
The annual Somme Commemoration parade, known as the ‘Mini Twelfth’, took place last night, including in east Belfast
The annual Somme Commemoration parade, known as the ‘Mini Twelfth’, took place last night, including in east Belfast
The annual Somme Commemoration parade, known as the ‘Mini Twelfth’, took place last night, including in east Belfast

By Staff Reporter

The Orange Order's annual Battle of the Somme anniversary parades took place across Northern Ireland last night.

It has been estimated that 3,500 Irishmen from across the island lost their lives in the battle, with over 40,000 perishing in the Great War.

The Battle of the Somme began on July 1, 1916, when the men of the 36th (Ulster) Division suffered around 2,000 casualties.

More than one million men were killed or wounded in the battle, one of the bloodiest in history.

Organisers of last night's event said it is the longest running Battle of the Somme anniversary parade in the world and large numbers attended what is also known as the 'Mini Twelfth' across Northern Ireland.

The parade in east Belfast is the largest loyal order procession in the city outside the Twelfth itself.

Organisers had expected more than 2,700 participants and 33 bands there last night.

Meanwhile, the Orange Order last night unveiled a YouTube video to promote the Twelfth, called 'Orangefest'.

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