See the moving photographs of the commemorations taking place for the Battle of the Somme centenary


The UK has been paying its respects to the thousands of soldiers killed in the Battle of the Somme 100 years ago.

A night-long vigil was held across Britain and at the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, which towers over the rolling Picardy fields where so many fell.

military-led vigil (Chris Radburn/PA)
(Chris Radburn/PA)

Soldiers stand at the four corners of the Stone of Remembrance (Gareth Fuller/PA)
(Gareth Fuller/PA)

Soldiers stand amongst lit war graves (Gareth Fuller/PA)
(Gareth Fuller/PA)

The Queen launched the vigils on Thursday at a Westminster Abbey ceremony, which closed with a piper performing next to the Grave of the Unknown Solider.

the vigil at the Grave of the Unknown Solider in Westminster Abbey (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

A piper plays at the close of the vigil (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

In London, people lined Parliament Square where the roar of guns was followed by the two-minute reflection.

The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery were present, having been at Thiepval on Thursday night.

The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery arrive (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)
(Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery march (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)
(Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery fire First World War guns in Parliament Square (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)
(Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

In Edinburgh, a two-minute silence was held at Scotland's National War Memorial, with descendants of some of those who died at the Somme in attendance.

A two minute silence is observed in Crown Square, Edinburgh (Lesley Martin/PA)
(Lesley Martin/PA)

A special service which followed an overnight vigil at edinburgh castle (Leslie Martin/PA)
(Leslie Martin/PA)

People huddled under trees and umbrellas paused from their journeys or duties to stand quietly.

Members of the London Fire Brigade pay their respects (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)
(Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

Wimbledon ground staff stand for a two-minute silence (Philip Toscano/PA)
(Philip Toscano/PA)

The British Army suffered almost 60,000 casualties on the first day alone and more than a million men would be killed or wounded on both sides over the course of the 141-day offensive.

People view memorial poppies in the ground (Steve Parsons/PA)
(Steve Parsons/PA)

A message on a memorial poppy placed in the ground (Yui Mok/PA)
(Yui Mok/PA)