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from the Manchester Evening News 3 April 2003

A Salute to the Manchester Pals
by Clarissa Satchell



THE stars of a war film will pay tribute to Manchester heroes at a living history event at Heaton Park.

The Manchester Regiment 1914-18 is a group of volunteers who perform living history events to teach about the Great War.

Their work is so acclaimed that its fame has travelled to France, where ten members will appear in a short film called Play the Game.

Later this month, the group will also re-create the experiences of the Manchester Pals at Heaton Park, where they trained before going to fight in the First World War.

The Pals were the men raised by a recruitment drive in the autumn of 1914.

Organiser Brian Walton said: "It's different from re-enactment, as it's more educational and the emphasis is on showing what it would have been like for the military during the Great War.

"We will hold talks and rifle drills and have tents set out in a camp where we will be cooking traditional food. It's important for people to remember what the Pals went through for us and bringing history to life in this way is so much more interesting than a dusty old book, especially for children."

The Manchester Regiment 1914-18 stages exhibitions in parks and works with English Heritage at events all over the country. Members make an annual pilgrimage to France, which led to their invitation to take part in the Play The Game film.

It follows a captain whose soldiers kicked footballs across No Mans' Land on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916, when the British Army lost 60,000 men in one day.

Filming starts next week, but all will be back in time for the living history event, called The Manchester Pals Training Camp 1914-1915. It is being held at Heaton Park on April 26 and 27, with displays starting at noon

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Aftermath - when the boys came home

Friday 11 February 2005

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