At 7.30am on July 1, 1916 whistles blew along the Western Front as a signal to the troops to go “over the top”.
It marked the beginning of the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles of the Great War.
At 7.30am on Friday July 1 Stroud Town Council will blow a whistle at Park Gardens in tribute.
People are being urged to come along and spare a few moments to pay tribute to those who lost their lives.
For Stroud Town Mayor Kevin Cranston it will be a poignant moment – his paternal grandfather was one of the men to “go over the top” and survive.
George David Cranston was aged around 20 and serving with the Royal Irish Rifles.
“The 36th Ulster Division, which my grandfather was part of, made the only remotely successful part of the attack,” said Councillor Cranston.
“They had celebrated Orange Day early and having partaken of the rum ration crawled out in no mans land close behind the barrage. When it lifted they were able to overcome the enemy in their trenches as they had only a short distance to cover.
“They captured the Schwaben Redoubt, a key point in the German defensive line but were in an isolated salient which was overwhelmed by a German counter attack after a couple of days.”
The British casualty figures for July 1 were a total of 58,000 of whom 19,000 were killed with the remainder wounded or taken prisoner.
Vigils and remembrance events will take place across the country between June 30 and November 18 – the dates when the fighting continued.
The Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch KCVO, head of Remembrance at The Royal British Legion said it was important for communities to come together to remember the survivors, casualties and men who died.
“The Battle of the Somme has come to symbolise the tragic scale and futility of modern industrialised warfare. Their collective sacrifice is relevant today as ever but in this centenary year we pay special tribute to their service.”