Today, the Government released plans for the World War I centenary, which will include a programme of cultural events and candlelit vigils, to be held across the country. The 100th anniversary commemorations will start on the 4th
of August, next year, and a service at Westminster Abbey will be the main focus for the events, with a final candle to be extinguished at 11pm - to mark the precise moment that Britain went to war with Germany. Fought mostly by soldiers in trenches, World War I took over Europe from 1914 to 1919 and was a bloody war that resulted in huge losses of life seeing an estimated 10 million military deaths and another 20 million wounded. At the time many had hoped that World War I would end all wars but it actually set the stage for World War II. As reported by the London Evening Standard, the project will also include an act of reconciliation on the battlefield, a service for Commonwealth leaders in Glasgow Cathedral and an event ceremony at the St Symphorien Military Cemetery in Mons, Belgium. Reflecting the four years of the conflict, plans include highlighting the key dates of the conflict, including the Gallipoli landings in the Dardanelles, the naval Battle of Jutland, the first day of the 1916 Battle of the Somme, and Armistice Day. This new £10 million programme, funded by the Lottery, does not include the other projects already planned to mark the centenary such as the refurbishment of the Imperial War Museum and enabling children from every state secondary school to have the chance to travel to the First World War battlefields such as the Somme, Verdun and Fromelles. Apparently, streets could also be renamed after soldiers who were awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery. “On 4 August 1914 we entered the war — a war like no other the world had seen, said Culture Secretary Maria Miller who said it was a “fitting” programme to remember the actions of men and women from Britain, the Commonwealth and all the other nations involved in the war. "It is right we remember and mark the centenary of this momentous day in the world’s history, bringing its importance alive for younger generations and remembering the price that was paid by all involved,” she added. Likely to feature heavily in the commemoration events are tales of personal accounts of life on the frontline, most notably from the Battle of the Somme, the bloodiest day in the history of the British army. The Battle of the Somme symbolises the horrors of trench warfare during World War I - it had a marked effect on overall casualty figures. The Government hopes the vigil will be replicated by churches, faith groups and community organisations to recognise the contribution and sacrifices made by the soldiers who fought during the First World War. Education Secretary Michael Gove said the war, which cost 900,000 British lives, “touched every village and town in Britain". Millions served and almost 900,000 United Kingdom subjects died in action. The loss to this country and to countless families was unimaginable and “must not be forgotten”. Source: London Evening Standard Are you looking for the war heroes in your family? Forces War Records
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