VETERANS have paid tribute to the Worcestershire troops that stopped the advancing German army in the early months of World War One.

Former soldiers marked the 103rd anniversary of the Battle of Gheluvelt at a service in Worcester's Gheluvelt Park on Sunday, October 29.

Cadets and police officers also attended the event to honour the sacrifice of the Worcestershire Regiment, which played a pivotal role in the battle.

Robin Walker, MP for Worcester, said: "It was really special today having such a fantastic turnout from veterans and the Royal British Legion.

"Gheluvelt was a very important battle and one not heard of by many people.

"It's when the German advance was brought to a halt and from then it was trench warfare.

"If it hadn't been for the Worcesters at Gheluvelt we might not have had the trenches. It's an incredible piece of history."

David Waldron, county chairman of the Royal British Legion, said: "Today was to commemorate the fallen in the Battle of Gheluvelt.

"It was a major battle because if we hadn't have held the land we would have lost the war."

David Williams, deputy standard-bearer for the Royal British Legion in Worcestershire, added that the country would be speaking German if it had lost the Battle of Gheluvelt.

The battle saw the Worcestershire Regiment's second battalion launch a counter attack that prevented the Germans from breaking through the British defensive line.

Some 187 members of the battalion were killed or wounded in the action, which was part of the First Battle of Ypres.

Canon Paul Tongue led the service to commemorate the fallen soldiers on October 31, 1914.

The event was organised by the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regimental Association in partnership with Worcester City Council.

Poppy wreaths were laid in front of the memorial in Gheluvelt Park and a minute's silence was held to remember the men of the second battalion.