Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

First World War centenary: Hundreds join candlelit vigil at Belfast City Hall to mark 100 years since outbreak of Great War

Belfast City Hall was plunged into darkness and the Last Post played at the WW1 Remembrance Service and wreath laying ceremony organised by Northern Ireland First World War Centenary Committee. Picture by Kelvin Boyes/PressEye
Belfast City Hall was plunged into darkness and the Last Post played at the WW1 Remembrance Service and wreath laying ceremony organised by Northern Ireland First World War Centenary Committee. Picture by Kelvin Boyes/PressEye
Belfast City Hall was plunged into darkness and the Last Post played at the WW1 Remembrance Service and wreath laying ceremony organised by Northern Ireland First World War Centenary Committee. Picture by Kelvin Boyes/PressEye
Belfast City Hall was plunged into darkness and the Last Post played at the WW1 Remembrance Service and wreath laying ceremony organised by Northern Ireland First World War Centenary Committee. Picture by Kelvin Boyes/PressEye
The Duke of York, First Minister Peter Robinson and Very Rev John Mann, Dean of Belfast are pictured at the Remembrance Service in St Anne's Cathedral
Members of the Irish Living History Group at St Anne's Cathedral organised by Northern Ireland First World War Centenary Committee.
Young Sea Cadets are pictured at the Remembrance Service in St Anne's Cathedral
Jeffrey Donaldson at the Remembrance Service in St Anne's Cathedral organised by Northern Ireland First World War Centenary Committee.
The Duke of York is pictured lighting a candle at the Remembrance Service in St Anne's Cathedral organised by Northern Ireland First World War Centenary Committee
Minister Arlene Foster pictured at the Remembrance Service in St Anne's Cathedral
Barbara and Norman McNarry are pictured at the Remembrance Service in St Anne's Cathedral organised by Northern Ireland First World War Centenary Committee.
The Duke of York meets Suzanne Wylie, Chief Executive of Belfast City Council at the Remembrance Service in St Anne's Cathedral organised by Northern Ireland First World War Centenary Committee.
First Minister Peter Robinson and Jeffrey Donaldson MP are pictured at the Remembrance Service in St Anne's with members of the Living History Group at Cathedral organised by Northern Ireland First World War Centenary Committee.
Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht of Dáil Éireann; Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers MP and First Minister Peter Robinson are pictured at the Remembrance Service in St Anne's Cathedral
The Duke of York and Sir Nigel Hamilton are pictured at the Remembrance Service in St Anne's Cathedral
The Duke of York and Sir Nigel Hamilton are pictured at the Remembrance Service in St Anne's Cathedral
Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht of Dáil Éireann, centre, pictured at the Remembrance Service in St Anne's Cathedral
First Minister Peter Robinson and Jeffrey Donaldson MP at the Remembrance Service in St Anne's
BOVINGTON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 04: Members of the Great War Society living history group dressed as 4th Battalion the Middlesex Regiment stand under a shower of a million poppy flowers representing the dead during a World War One centenary ceremony at the Tank Museum, Bovington on August 4, 2014 in England. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
Prince Harry takes the salute during the Step Short commemorative event in Folkestone, Kent to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One.
Belgium Government handout photo of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge laying a wreath during a ceremony at the Cointe Inter-allied Memorial, Liege, Belgium, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.
BOVINGTON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 04: A member of a living history group dressed as a Gordon Highlander plays dead as he takes part in a World War One battle re-enactment at the Tank Museum, Bovington on August 4, 2014 in England. Monday August 4, 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of Great Britain's declaration of war on Germany. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
A single cannon shot was fired from Grey Point Fort in County Down at 1pm to mark the centenary of Britain's declaration of war against Germany. Pic Arthur Allison.
A wreath laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Belfast City Hall to mark the day World War One start 100-years-ago. The Union Flag is lowered at the Last Post is played before the wreath laying ceremony. Pic Jonathan Porter
A single cannon shot was fired from Grey Point Fort in County Down at 1pm to mark the centenary of Britain's declaration of war against Germany. Pic Arthur Allison.
A wreath laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Belfast City Hall to mark the day World War One start 100-years-ago. The Union Flag is lowered at the Last Post is played before the wreath laying ceremony. Pic Jonathan Porter
A man pictured in period garb at the First World War commemoration in Co Down. Pic Arthur Allison.
Two men pictured in period garb at the First World War commemoration in Co Down. Pic Arthur Allison.
A wreath laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Belfast City Hall to mark the day World War One start 100-years-ago. The Union Flag is lowered at the Last Post is played before the wreath laying ceremony. Pic Jonathan Porter
A wreath laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Belfast City Hall to mark the day World War One start 100-years-ago. The Union Flag is lowered at the Last Post is played before the wreath laying ceremony. Pic Jonathan Porter
A wreath laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Belfast City Hall to mark the day World War One start 100-years-ago. The Union Flag is lowered at the Last Post is played before the wreath laying ceremony. Pic Jonathan Porter
A wreath laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Belfast City Hall to mark the day World War One start 100-years-ago. The Union Flag is lowered at the Last Post is played before the wreath laying ceremony. Pic Jonathan Porter
A wreath laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Belfast City Hall to mark the day World War One start 100-years-ago. The Union Flag is lowered at the Last Post is played before the wreath laying ceremony. Pic Jonathan Porter
The sun sets behind the Black Watch Memorial which honours the 8,960 Black Watch officers and soldiers killed and more than 20,000 who were wounded in the course of World War One. August 1, 2014 in Ypres, Belgium (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
King Philippe of Belgium lays a wreath as he takes part in a WW1 100 Years Commomoration Ceremony at Le Memorial Interallie on August 4, 2014 in Liege, Belgium (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor General of Australia attends Glasgow Cathedral for a memorial service to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One on August 4, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor General of Australia attends Glasgow Cathedral for a memorial service to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One on August 4, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Prime Minister David Cameron leaves Glasgow Cathedral following a memorial service to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One on August 4, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Prince Charles, Prince Of Wales leaves Glasgow Cathedral following the memorial service to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One on August 4, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
LIEGE, BELGIUM - AUGUST 04: (L-R) Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend a WW1 100 Years Commomoration Ceremony with French President Francois Hollande and Queen Mathilde of Belgium, at Le Memorial Interallie on August 4, 2014 in Liege, Belgium (Photo by Yves Herman - Pool /Getty Images)
The Prince (front) and Princess (rear right) Michael of Kent on board a1913 Rolls Royce ahead of their departure from the Royal Hospital Chelsea as part of the Great War Centenary Parade in central London. Pic John Stillwell/PA Wire
Sgt Patrick Cody, aged 77, admires the British Tommy Radiator cap of a vintage car ahead of their departure from the Royal Hospital Chelsea as part of the Great War Centenary Parade in central London. Pic John Stillwell/PA Wire
The Prince (centre) and Princess (second left) Michael of Kent with Chelsea Pensioners ahead of their departure from the Royal Hospital Chelsea as part of the Great War Centenary Parade in central London. Pic John Stillwell/PA Wire
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 4: Chelsea Pensioners wave to members of the public as the Great War centenary parade of Edwardian cars passes the Cenotaph in Whitehall on August 4, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)
(L-R) Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend a WW1 100 Years Commomoration Ceremony with French President Francois Hollande, Queen Mathilde of Belgium, King Philippe of Belgium and German President Joachim Gauck, at Le Memorial Interallie on August 4, 2014 in Liege, Belgium. (Photo by Francois Lenoir - Pool /Getty Images)
LIEGE, BELGIUM - AUGUST 04: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend a WW1 100 Years Commomoration Ceremony at Le Memorial Interallie on August 4, 2014 in Liege, Belgium (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
A veteran looks on at Le Memorial Interallie in Liege, Belgium
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 04: Ed Miliband leader of the Labour party and his wife Justine arrive at Glasgow Cathedral to attend a memorial service to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One on August 4, 2014 in Glasgow,Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 04: Nick Clegg, British Deputy Prime Minister arrives at Glasgow Cathedral to attend a memorial service to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One on August 4, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 04: British Prime Minister David Cameron arrives at Glasgow Cathedral to attend a memorial service to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One on August 4, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. Monday August 4 (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 04: Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond arrives at Glasgow Cathedral to attend a memorial service to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One on August 4, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 04: British Prime Minister David Cameron arrives at Glasgow Cathedral to attend a memorial service to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One on August 4 (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 04: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales arrives at Glasgow Cathedral to attend a memorial service to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One on August 4th , 2014 (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
The grave stone of William McBride. Pic Liam McBurney
Ulster Tower is dedicated to memorial of men of the 36th Division. Pictured memorial to those of the 36th who won the Victoria Cross. Pic Liam McBurney
Ulster Tower is dedicated to memorial of men of the 36th Division. Pictured memorial to those of the 36th who won the Victoria Cross. Pic Liam McBurney
Ulster Tower is dedicated to memorial of men of the 36th Division. Pictured memorial to those of the 36th who won the Victoria Cross. Pic Liam McBurney
Ulster Tower is dedicated to memorial of men of the 36th Division. Pictured Connaught Cemeter. Pic Liam McBurney
Thiepval Monument were over 70,000 names have been carved into the monument to those solders whom do not have a known resting place. White headstones are Commonwealth soldiers on the left. Pic Liam McBurney
Thiepval Monument were over 70,000 names have been carved into the monument to those solders whom do not have a known resting place. White headstones are Commonwealth soldiers on the left. Pic Liam McBurney
The grave stone of Samuel Edwin Gorman. Pic liam McBurney
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge speak with French President Francois Hollande ahead of a ceremony at the Cointe Inter-allied Memorial, Liège, Belgium, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. Pic Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
File photo dated 20/08/14 of the scene outside the Enlisting Office in Thogmorton Street, London, at the beginning of the First World War, as royalty, political leaders and families of the fallen will unite in Belgium and the UK today in marking 100 years since Britain entered the First World War
Undated handout photo of the front page of the Flanders Fields Post, a newspaper inspired by the historic Wipers Times created by First World War soldiers Captain FJ Roberts and Lieutenant JH Pearson in 1916, which has been recreated to mark the centenary of the war
File photo dated 04/08/14 of the Grenadier Guards being watched by a crowd as they leave Wellington Barracks in London for active service in France at the beginning of World War I, as royalty, political leaders and families of the fallen will unite in Belgium and the UK today in marking 100 years since Britain entered the First World War
File photo dated 17/08/14 of British soldiers from the Royal Welch Fusiliers and the Cheshire Regiment in a Belgian town on their way to Mons as part of the British Expeditionary Force, as royalty, political leaders and families of the fallen will unite in Belgium and the UK today in marking 100 years since Britain entered the First World War
Family handout photo of Capatain FJ Roberts (right) with family (L-R) Bert, Will, Nell and Fred Roberts, (front) dad Henry and mom Mary Roberts in 1900, as a newspaper inspired by the historic Wipers Times created by First World War soldiers Captain FJ Roberts and Lieutenant JH Pearson in 1916, has been recreated to mark the centenary of the war
Family handout photo of a young Captain F. J. Roberts, as a newspaper inspired by the historic Wipers Times created by First World War soldiers Captain FJ Roberts and Lieutenant JH Pearson in 1916, has been recreated to mark the centenary of the war
Family handout photo of Captain F. J. Roberts with his son Bill Roberts in 1914, as a newspaper inspired by the historic Wipers Times created by First World War soldiers Captain FJ Roberts and Lieutenant JH Pearson in 1916, has been recreated to mark the centenary of the war
Undated family handout photo of Captain F. J. Roberts with his division, as a newspaper inspired by the historic Wipers Times created by First World War soldiers Captain FJ Roberts and Lieutenant JH Pearson in 1916, has been recreated to mark the centenary of the war
Handout photo issued by London Transport Museum of Ole Bill, a 1911 B-type bus No. B43 flanked by standard bearers in the Armistice Day parade 1920 as wreaths are being laid at bus stations and garages across London in memory of the transport workers who died in the First World War.
France's President Francois Hollande, left, and German President Joachim Gauck pay respect during a ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, at the National Monument of Hartmannswillerkop, in Wattwiller, eastern France, Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Flowers are prepared to dress the 'Grave of the Unknown Warrior' ahead of a candlelight vigil on August 4 marking the start of WW1, at Westminster Abbey on August 3, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Flowers are prepared to dress the 'Grave of the Unknown Warrior' ahead of a candlelight vigil on August 4 marking the start of WW1, at Westminster Abbey on August 3, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Flowers are prepared to dress the 'Grave of the Unknown Warrior' ahead of a candlelight vigil on August 4 marking the start of WW1, at Westminster Abbey on August 3, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
The 'Grave of the Unknown Warrior' is prepared ahead of a candlelight vigil on August 4 marking the start of WW1, at Westminster Abbey on August 3, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
The 'Grave of the Unknown Warrior' is prepared ahead of a candlelight vigil on August 4 marking the start of WW1, at Westminster Abbey on August 3, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Wild poppies grow on the verge of a Flanders field near Tyne Cot Military Cemetery as dawn breaks on the centenary of the Great War on August 4, 2014 in Passchendaele, Belgium. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Rows of headstones marking the graves at Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery on on August 3, 2014 in Passchendaele, Belgium. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Finlay Day, aged nine, takes part in a guard of honour with other members of the Edgmond Scout Group from Shropshire, during the playing of the Last Post at the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing on August 3, 2014 in Ypres, Belgium. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Scouts and cubs from the Edgmond Scout Group, Shropshire, form a guard of honour as members of the local fire brigade sound the Last Post at the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing on August 3, 2014 in Ypres, Belgium. Monday 4th August marks the 100th anniversary of Great Britain declaring war on Germany. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Hundreds of people held candles in a late night vigil outside Belfast City Hall on Monday night to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

The city joined the nationwide Lights Out commemoration, which saw houses and buildings throughout the UK plunged into darkness at 10pm, with just a single light or candle burning for an hour.

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers, First Minister Peter Robinson and Irish heritage minister Heather Humphreys were among those to lay wreaths at the cenotaph.

Earlier that evening a service was held at the Church of Ireland St Anne's Cathedral in the city centre, where the head of the Anglican church in Ireland said war must always represent the abject failure of humanity,

Archbishop of Armagh Dr Richard Clarke said commemoration of the First World War could not be spiritually separated from carnage in Gaza and other contemporary trouble spots.

He addressed the Belfast service marking Britain's declaration of hostilities against Germany. The Duke of York read a lesson and lit a candle.

Dr Clarke said: "War must always represent the abject failure of the human spirit and of humanity itself.

"It can never be other and we should never pretend it is other."

Young people lit five candles, each representing a year of the war. The Royal British Legion raised two standards and an act of remembrance was introduced by Dean of Belfast John Mann.

Dr Clarke said: "Without being guilty of the worst kind of religious escapism, we cannot spiritually separate the violence, the carnage and the suffering of the innocent that is under our gaze today - whether in Gaza, in Israel, in Syria, in Ukraine or in Iraq - from our memorialising of the beginnings of the First World War."

The church's construction began in 1899 and in 1924 its west front was designated a memorial to Northern Ireland men and women who died during the First World War.

Eight volumes of books in the cathedral record the names of those from across Ireland who fought and died during the 1914-18 war.

Dr Clarke said: "In the Great War we see heroism and cruelty standing side by side, we see cynical disillusionment and moral determination intertwining and we see hope and despair in equal measure and on every side.

"This was the first time that the weaponry of war could be fully industrialised and it was, also for the first time, that the phrase total war was coined to indicate that civilians were to be regarded as being as much part of the war as the military."

He said extinguishing lights throughout the UK, a reminder of words used to characterise the outbreak of war by then British foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey, was an appropriate memorial.

"But yet, as people of faith, we must be ready to set alongside it another message about light and darkness, that eternal truth of the Gospel.

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

Dealing with the legacy of past violence is an everyday issue in Northern Ireland.

Dr Clarke said it was easy to create monuments to hatred, painful to recognise beauty.

"Memorialising can be a crude, self-obsessive and vengeful thing - an empty shell of past hatreds that seeks to demonise an enemy forever - or it can become, with forbearance, integrity and true spiritual courage, a thing of beauty that can strive to radiate the glory and the presence of God."

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson read a poem written by the mother of a member of the Royal Irish Rifles, Private Ralph Adams, killed on the first day of the battle of the Somme in 1916.

Part of it said:

"For King and country well he stood,

Unknown to cowards' fears;

In the battle strife he shed his blood

With the Ulster Volunteers.

He volunteered as an Ulsterman,

What more could a subject do;

He fought for King and country,

And he died for the red, white and blue."

Further reading:

World War One: Photographs of the horror, the heroism and the suffering and slaughter - the Great War that changed to the world forever

First World War centenary: Switch off the lights tonight, and remember the darkness that fell in 1914  

Fort cannon fired for war centenary 

First World War centenary: All around me were the final resting places of men buried where they fell 

First World War centenary: Still in his kit, an Inniskilling fusilier found after 97 years 

First World War centenary: Somme cat sleeps amid the shells 

First World War centenary: VC hero McFadzean's 'death penny' brought back to Somme 

First World War centenary: Why we must never forget the sacrifice of an entire generation

'Warrior generation' can defend UK 

Jeffrey Donaldson urges more war history in schools

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