Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 December 2014

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

Tributes for Great War centenary

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)
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)

Homes and businesses across Northern Ireland are being urged to switch off lights and lamps for one hour tonight to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.

In a symbolic, nationwide gesture, houses and buildings throughout the UK will be plunged into darkness at 10pm, with just a single light or candle burning for an hour.

The dimming of the lights is just one of a number of events taking place to mark 100 years since Prime Minister Herbert Asquith declared that Britain was at war with Germany on August 4, 1914.

Tens of thousands of house-holders and hundreds of buildings, including the Houses of Parliament and St Paul's Cathedral in London, are expected to join in the Lights Out plan.

Closer to home, special events are being held in Northern Ireland to mark the start of the conflict, which claimed the lives of millions of soldiers from around the world.

In Belfast, the outbreak of the First World War will be remembered at a centenary commemoration service to be held in St Anne's Cathedral, tonight at 7pm.

The service is expected to be attended by Secretary of State Theresa Villiers, Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for the Republic, and senior figures from the main churches in Northern Ireland.

The Queen will be represented in Belfast by the Duke of York, who will read a lesson and will light a candle to mark the occasion.

The service will be conducted by the Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev John Mann. Young people will light five candles during the service, each representing a year of the war.

Admission to the event is by invitation only.

Elsewhere in Northern Ireland, a number of candlelit vigils are being held to mark the occasion.

In Belfast, a wreath laying ceremony will take place at 10pm, as City Hall is plunged into darkness.

In Coleraine, a vigil will be held in the town centre at 10.30pm, followed by a tolling of church bells at 11pm, while in Carrickfergus, the Knockagh Monument will be lit up for an hour at 10pm.

In Antrim, a candlelit vigil will be held followed by the release of lanterns into the sky.

Meanwhile, the great-niece of a First World War soldier will join dignitaries, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, at a special ceremony this evening.

Helen Jones will be the first member of her family to visit the grave of her great-uncle Private George Bellamy at St Symphorien military cemetery near Mons in Belgium.

Mrs Jones and her husband will be among a guest list which includes the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

The 57-year-old plans to lay some flowers on the grave of Private Bellamy, of 2nd Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment, to say thank you for the sacrifice made by him and millions of other soldiers.

The mother-of-three, who will be joined on the trip by her husband, said she expected it to be an emotional occasion.

"I really want to lay some flowers on George's grave and just say 'you know what, thanks, because you changed the world for us'. Without it, it wouldn't be the same," she said.

"They just gave everything, a whole generation almost of young men just disappeared. We just can't credit it."

Send us your pictures at digital.editorial@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

 

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