ONE of the bloodiest conflicts the world has ever known, the First World War was notorious for its brutally mechanised nature.

The conflagration decimated the landscape at battlefields across the Western and Eastern Fronts and the globe, leaving them bereft of greenery and wildlife.  

Now, in a touching memorial to the fallen, an oak tree sapling has been planted in Prestwich to commemorate the centenary of the conflict’s end.

The tree will take a poignant role in the town’s centenary commemorations, and a wreath will be laid at the tree by an ex-serviceman on Remembrance Sunday. 

Councillor Alan Quinn, who helped to organised the planting, said: “It’s 100 years since the end of the First World War, and many local Prestwich lads joined up and fought, and a lot of them were killed. It was a brutal war.

“We lost a generation and that was supposed to be the war to end all wars.

“I felt it was important we did something in Prestwich to mark this, and that we recognise the sacrifice made by that generation, and all servicemen and women in all wars.”

Arriving from a nursery in Cambridge, the sapling was planted in St Mary’s Park, near to Bury New Road, last weekend. 

The location was chosen by the Friends of St Mary’s Park and the planting was carried out by members of the council’s grounds maintenance team.

Cllr Quinn said: “ The tree looks fantastic, and what is more British than an oak — it’s sturdy and reliable.

“Hopefully this tree will be there in 100, 200 years when it is fully grown. 

“I hope people will like it and enjoy watching it grow, and in 20 to 50 years it will be a splendid specimen.”

Earlier this year there had been fears that Prestwich may not hold a commemoration to mark the end of the First World War when plans  became derailed after the town’s Royal British Legion branch shut down and the event organiser fell ill.  

However last month heroic residents and councillors stepped in to save the day.

A parade will depart from outside the Longfield Suite at around 10.30 am on Remembrance Sunday.