Now, 100 years later, in a moving tribute to those who bravely fought, hundreds of servicemen, cadets and volunteers will parade through the city to mark the centenary. The Mercian Regiment Band will lead the parade from The Cathedral to the Castle.
In Port Sunlight there will also be a very moving parade with hundreds of Unilever Employees volunteering in honour of the 700 Port Sunlight workers who volunteered over 100 years ago. At the time the workers were employed by The Lever Brothers and were the largest group of volunteers from any workplace in the country.
The volunteers will be marching in a re-enactment of the enlistment march of over 100 years ago.
The “Great Send Off ” parade will begin outside the gates of Unilever , pass through Port Sunlight to the train. The parade will then board the train for Chester and march from the Station.
They will meet the Mercian regiment at The Cathedral and continue all together to the Castle and Cheshire Military Museum.
Spectators are being encouraged to line the route ( starting at the railway station) dressed in period costume, and to sing along with the 700 as they march through Chester city centre accompanied by the Port Sunlight Lyceum Brass Band and the Over by Christmas Chorus**.
The Lord Mayor of Chester, Councillor Bob Rudd and The Bishop of Chester will be on hand to greet the troops.
Entry to the Cheshire Military Museum at Chester Castle on the day will be free, and the Tame Valley Classic Car club will stage a static display of vintage and classic cars in Port Sunlight village.
Timetable of events:
Those wishing to watch the event in either Port Sunlight or Chester are advised to visit www.portsunlightvillage.com for more information about event timings and road closures. An approximate time-line for the event is as follows:
10.30 Great Send Off parade exits Unilever Port Sunlight gates
10.45 William Hesketh Lever’s speech to the ‘Port Sunlight Volunteers’
10.50 All sing God Save the King
11.00 Great Send Off parade boards train at Port Sunlight railway station
11.30 Great Send Off parade arrives at Chester railway station
12.00 Great Send Off parade begins walk to Chester Castle via Chester Cathedral
12.30 Great Send Off parade arrives at Chester Cathedral to join up with the Battle of Mons parade
12.45 Two parades depart Chester Castle
13.00 Parade arrives at The Castle Square
13.15 General Mackinnon’s speech to the ‘Port Sunlight Volunteers’
13.30 Enlistment of the ‘Port Sunlight Volunteers’
** The Over by Christmas Performance at The Chester Station will be on Sunday Sept 14th.
See their web site at www.theatreinthequarter.co.uk for more performance info , dates and times
The performance in Chester will be at : 12:noon and 5pm on Sunday 14th Sept.
The event is FREE