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First World War Centenary: we will remember them

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

Details of commemorative events to mark 100 years since Britain entered the First World War.

Sajid Javid

Today (4 August) marks 100 years since Britain entered the First World War.

Keep up-to-date with what is happening via DCMS’ First World War Centenary Storify

First World War Centenary infographic

Solemn services of remembrance in London and Glasgow and a commemorative event in Belgium are being attended by members of the Royal Family and senior politicians from Britain, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, and the Commonwealth built around the themes of remembrance, youth and education.

The Prince of Wales and Prime Minister David Cameron during a wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Glasgow.
The Prince of Wales and Prime Minister David Cameron during a wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Glasgow. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

The Prime Minister said:

A hundred years ago today Britain entered the First World War and we are marking that centenary to honour those who served, to remember those who died, and to ensure that the lessons learnt live with us forever. It is right to remember the extraordinary sacrifice of a generation and we are all indebted to them because their most enduring legacy is our liberty.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said:

A hundred years on, the sheer scale and sacrifice of the First World War demand remembrance.

Breaking with tradition, we are marking the start as well as the end of the conflict so that the anniversaries of the war will improve our understanding of its causes, conduct and consequences.

Today’s events

A Service for the Commonwealth was held at Glasgow Cathedral this morning.

After the service, wreaths were laid at the Cenotaph in George Square. See a Vine of the Prince of Wales, the Prime Minister and Commonwealth dignitaries in the square.

The wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Glasgow.
The wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Glasgow. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

A Commemoration at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s St Symphorien cemetery in Mons, Belgium took place. Read the Prime Minister’s words.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Prime Minister are among those gathered at St Symphorien cemetery.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Prime Minister are among those gathered at St Symphorien cemetery. Photo: Crown copyright.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Prime Minister are among those gathered at St Symphorien cemetery.
St Symphorien cemetery. Photo: Crown copyright.

Members of the current Armed Forces have taken part in a series of events across the UK and overseas, to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. Those serving in Camp Bastion, in Afghanistan also held an evening service of remembrance.

A Service of Solemn Commemoration took place at Westminster Abbey.

The Duchess of Cornwall extinguishes the remaining flame at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey.
The Duchess of Cornwall extinguishes the remaining flame at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey. Photo: Sang Tan/PA Wire.

There were similar events across the UK in Anglican churches, including St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast and Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff, and acts of reflection in places of worship of other denominations and faiths.

How you can get involved

You can take part in Lights Out, from your home or workplace, by switching off your lights from 10pm to 11pm, leaving only a single light or candle lit. This will be a UK wide moment of reflection which will mark 100 years since the start of the First World War.

Social media to follow

Twitter

Follow #WW1Aug4 for the latest updates on today’s commemorative events.

Facebook

Prime ministers in the First World War

Four British prime ministers saw active service in the First World War: Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee, Anthony Eden and Harold Macmillan. Read about them in our Prime ministers in the First World War blog.

Read more about the centenary on the First World War Centenary topic page.

Published 22 July 2014
Last updated 4 August 2014 + full page history
  1. Updated with more news on events happening around the country
  2. Updated to reflect today’s activities.
  3. First published.