News story

First World War Centenary commemorative events announced

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Three national commemorative events to mark the First World War Centenary will take place on August 4 this year

The events in Glasgow, Mons in Belgium, and London form a key part of the Government’s centenary programme, and will take place across August 4th, the 100th anniversary of the date war was declared.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said:

The First World War fundamentally changed the world. It also took the lives of millions of people all over the world, and left still more with disabling injuries. So it is absolutely right that we mark its centenary and that we put remembrance at the heart of this commemoration. We have created a programme of events that will help everyone in Britain, especially the young, understand and appreciate what’s happened, and the ultimate sacrifice that so many made during that time.

The events

10am - Glasgow Cathedral Commonwealth-themed service and Cenotaph service in George Square

Organised in partnership with Glasgow City Council, the service led by Dr Laurence Whitley will reflect the Commonwealth contribution to the war and will be followed by a wreath-laying service at the Cenotaph in George Square where a commemorative plaque will also be unveiled. HRH The Duke of Rothesay (as the Prince of Wales is known in Scotland) will attend. The Cathedral service will be shown live in George Square, which will be open for public access. Further details will be released in due course.

7.30pm (UK) – Commemorative event at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission St Symphorien Military Cemetery in Mons, Belgium

This commemorative event for around 500 guests is organised in partnership with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and will be based around music, poetry and readings which reflect the unique history of this site, where those who met in war now meet in peace. The land for St Symphorien was given to the German army by a Belgian landowner on the condition that the cemetery provide a suitable resting place for the dead from both sides of the conflict and that all were buried with due respect. It contains the graves of the first British soldier killed on the Western Front and the last British and Commonwealth soldiers killed before the Armistice, along with the first recipient of the Victoria Cross in the First World War. HRH The Duke of Cambridge, accompanied by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge will attend this event with HRH Prince Henry of Wales. Mons City Council will screen the event live in Mons town square for members of the public wishing to be involved with the event.

10pm – Candlelit Vigil at Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey will be hosting a candlelit vigil and evening of prayer and reflection. This will include the gradual extinguishing of candles, with the final light on the tomb of the unknown warrior being extinguished at 11pm - the exact time that Britain joined the First World War. HRH The Duchess of Cornwall will attend this service.

Anglican churches around the UK will also be participating, along with other faith groups, to complement the event in London, including services at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast and Llandaff Cathedral, Wales. The event at Westminster Abbey will be by invitation only.

The cultural programme 14-18 Now will also be marking this moment between 10-11pm. Further details of this will be unveiled in due course.

Further details about each event will be announced in due course. Plans for media accreditation for each event will also be announced at a later date.

Information about the First World War Centenary