Lights out to remember the war

First published in News

THE Barry branch of the Royal British Legion will hold a Lights Out service at the Barry War Memorial from 9.30pm on Monday, August 4.

The event will mark the Centenary of the Great War with the service lasting around 30 minutes.

Similar services will also take place at cathedrals and battlefields across the world, and even the Blackpool Illuminations will be turned off to mark this historic event.

Westminster Abbey will be leading the nation with a First World War vigil liturgy broadcast live on the BBC.

The lights going out service was inspired by a haunting remark by the then Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, who had just returned from telling parliament that war with Germany was inevitable.

He looked out of his office at Whitehall and saw the gas lamps being turned off in the street below, as an air raid precaution before commenting to a friend, that "The lamps are going out all over Europe; and we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.

Hundreds of men and boys from Barry and the Vale, who gave up their lives during the Great War, are remembered on the Roll of Honour within the Barry Memorial Hall.

Bob Wheatley, of the Barry Branch of the Royal British Legion, said: “Our members believe that it is important for Barry to be part of this historic event, and not simply to watch it on the evening news.”

Padre Ben Andrews, of St Mary’s church, Holton Road, will take the service and the legion thanked him and the Barry at War group for their help in organising the service.

A limited edition Centenary candle is available from M&S stores for £4, with all profit going to the Royal British Legion.

Mr Wheatley added: “We hope to light one million candles across the UK to remember each and every one of those service men and women who gave their lives in the war to end all wars.’’

The lights going out service will start at 9.30pm and end at 10pm when candles will be extinguished to mark one hundred years to the minute that Britain effectively entered the Great War by issuing an ultimatum to Germany that if they failed to respect the neutrality of Belgium they would be at war.

The service will include contemporary accounts of soldiers experiences of the Great War and poetry of the time and it is hoped that as many people as possible will attend and bring a candle.

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