RESIDENTS were ’brought to tears’ after meeting the ‘ghosts’ of soldiers who died during the Battle of the Somme.

On Friday, thousands of men dressed in uniforms from the First World War drifted throughout towns and cities to remember those who gave their lives during the bloodiest in British military history.

The silent ghosts handed out cards bearing names of those who died on July 1, 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, which claimed the lives 19,240 men and injured 38,230.

In Northwich, 11 ‘ghosts’ appeared in the town as part of the powerful tribute.

Scott Parry, 21, who was one of the 11, said: “It was incredibly moving. A few people were brought to tears. It was an incredibly beautiful experience.

“I could see in my group, some people were getting teary eyed. People next to me were clearly moved.”

Every man who took part in the event was given an identity of a soldier who died during the battle.

Staying silent, and only when approached, the men then gave out cards with their name, age, battalion and regiment.

“We weren’t speaking. We were ghosts, but we were silent ghosts,” Scott, who studies drama and theatre studies at Chester University, said.

“We just had this beautiful imagery, it was quite stark really. We didn’t know how people were going to react. Most people didn’t feel comfortable just coming up to us.”

The group started out Chester, spending time at Chester railway station and in the town centre, before making the train journey to Northwich. They then marched into town.

The men only broke their silence to sing the song ‘we’re here because we’re here’, which was sung in the trenches during the First World War.

Throughout the day, people up and down the country tweeted about the tribute using the hashtag, #wearehere

Initially it was not known who had organised the tribute, which was kept top-secret until Friday.

It has since been revealed that it was the work of artist Jeremy Deller.

Deller is best known for The Battle of Orgreave, a re-enactment of the 1984 Miners’ Strike battle that featured almost 1,000 people.

The acclaimed artist worked with National Theatre director Rufus Norris for the project, which was commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War.