ONE of the most horrific battles in the First World War has been re-enacted in Hervey Bay, to mark the 100th anniversary since it ended.

The Hervey Bay RSL sub-branch paid tribute to the battle of the Somme ending a century ago, with a commemoration event held on Friday night at Freedom Park.

About 400 people and 140 school children went along to the event, which included the firing of Maryborough's time cannon, a touching address by a French representative and a re-enactment of soldiers leaving the trenches.

MC Dave Granger said the turnout had been better than he had hoped.

"It was absolutely fantastic," Mr Granger said.

"Everybody was very happy with the way it turned out out and we had a good amount of people - there were plenty of school children who released balloons."

Service in Freedom Park to commemorate 100 years since the ending of the Battle of Somme. Jim Wilson from the WW1 9th Battalion Re-Enactment Group with the ANZAC flame.
Service in Freedom Park to commemorate 100 years since the ending of the Battle of Somme. Jim Wilson from the WW1 9th Battalion Re-Enactment Group with the ANZAC flame. Alistair Brightman

Mr Granger said it was an extremely emotional experience.

"This marked 100 years since this event; we've had other events, but nothing quite like this," Mr Granger said.

"That particular event was one of, if not the most horrific battle during World War One; it cost thousands of lives on both sides and went on for 140 days with no gain on either side."

Mr Granger said although the battle happened 100 years ago, it was important to remind people about the tragedy of war.

"They [re-enactments of war] remind us, it was a useless loss of life, and we should look back at those those things and say we don't want to go down that path again," he said.