News

Lights go out in Britain marking WWI anniversary

Lights go out in Britain marking WWI anniversary

CENTENARY:A Chelsea Pensioners is reflected in the window of an Edwardian era car before the start of The Great War Centenary Parade, at the Royal Chelsea Hospital in London Aug. 4. Photo: Reuters/Neil Hall

LONDON (Reuters) – Lights will be switched off for an hour at landmarks of Britain on Monday and Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince William paid tribute to the dead on the centenary of the start of World War I.

Termed “the war to end all wars”, it spread carnage across Europe, especially northern France and Belgium, killing 17 million soldiers and civilians in 1914-18. One million of the dead were soldiers from Britain and its then-empire.

Cameron and Prince William attended ceremonies in Scotland and Belgium. Speaking at an event in Liege, Prince William paid tribute to those who died as he noted that the current fighting in Ukraine showed instability continued to stalk Europe.

“We were enemies more than once in the last century and today we are friends and allies,” the prince said, alluding to Germany and its cohorts in the first and second world wars. “We salute those who died to give us our freedom. We will remember them,” he told Belgium’s King Philippe and other heads of state.

Presidents Francois Hollande of France and Joachim Gauck of Germany were among those at the Liege rites, while in Glasgow, Scotland, Cameron was joined by heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles at a centenary service.

“When you think that almost every family, almost every community was affected, almost a million British people were lost in this war, it is right that even 100 years on, we commemorate it, we think about it and we mark it properly,” Cameron told the BBC earlier on Monday.

On Monday evening, London will switch off the lights at landmarks such as Trafalgar Square, the Houses of Parliament and St Paul’s Cathedral for an hour, to commemorate the time at which Britain declared war on Germany.

Candles at an official service in London’s Westminster Abbey will go out one by one until only a burning oil lamp remains at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior.

At 6:00 p.m. EDT, the lamp will be extinguished, marking the exact time the British Empire joined the war. In Trafalgar Square, one single light will shine from an old police box.

Britons were also encouraged to switch off their lights at home for an hour as part of the commemorations.

At the Tower of London, an art installation called “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” by Paul Cummins features hundreds of thousands of ceramic poppies flowing from the medieval monument’s wall into the dry moat.

Red poppies have become a symbol of remembrance since the trench warfare waged in the poppy fields of Belgium’s Flanders region during World War I.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Latest Headlines

in Local

Americold to Build Key Refrigerated Warehouse in Portland

WGAN IMAGE

The world's largest cold-storage company will build a modern refrigerated warehouse on Portland's waterfront.

in Local

Cops: Intruder Shot by Maine Resident Faces Burglary Charges

handgun

Police in Maine say an intruder has been shot by a home owner during a break-in and is facing burglary charges.

in Local

Maine Charter Schools in High Demand as School Year Starts

GENERIC SCHOOL

Charter schools in Maine are in high demand as the school year gets underway.

in Local

Maine Group Done Collecting Submissions For New Bay Advocate

WGAN IMAGE

An environmental organization is done collecting applications for a new baykeeper to advocate for Casco Bay in Maine.

in Local

Rescued Hiker Recounts Ordeal in Maine’s Baxter State Park

GENERIC HIKING

A 78-year-old hiker from Virginia who went missing in Maine's Baxter State Park says he survived on granola bars, water and his backwoods skills for three days until he was rescued.

Tweets

  • 4h
  • 6h
  • 10h
  • 11h
  • 11h
  • 15h
  • 17h