First World War Centenary Commemorations – a call to all Highlanders to remember those who served
Monday 4 August 2014 marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, and a nation-wide programme of commemoration will begin which will cover the same period as the duration of the war. As part of that programme, two non-denominational commemorative services are being held in Inverness, and people from Inverness and across the wider Highlands are being encouraged to participate.
At 2pm on Monday 4 August, there will be a service for the City of Inverness at the Old High Church on Church Street. During that service a Memorial Candle will be lit in memory of all those who lost their lives in the War. Once this service is concluded, the Memorial Candle will be taken in procession to St Andrew’s Cathedral where the Provost of the Cathedral, the Very Reverend Canon Alexander Gordon, will conduct a Highland-wide service of commemoration commencing at 3.30pm. The Memorial Candle will be placed before the Cathedral’s First World War memorial where it will be kept, lit, during the four years to come. The lit candle represents a small beacon of light that will remain alight during the longs years of the War.
All those attending the service at the Old High are invited to join the procession to the Cathedral and members of the public are also welcome to watch or join the procession as it makes its way through the streets of Inverness. It is expected that the services will conclude by 4.30pm.
Provost of Inverness, Councillor Alex Graham said: “Hundreds of invitations have been sent out but I would like to stress that these services are open to all to attend, from all faiths or none and from all parts of the Highlands. It is important that we never forget the sacrifices that were made by all those who served.”
Taking part in the procession will be the Royal British Legion Scotland - Inverness, representatives from the main uniformed youth groups including the Boys Brigade, Girls Brigade, Girl Guides, Sea Scouts and Army Cadets, among others. The candle will be escorted by soldiers from the 3rd and 4th Battalions of The Royal Regiment of Scotland and the Inverness Royal British Legion Pipe Band. At the rear of the procession will be 2 horses with riders in period dress, in recognition of the contribution and sacrifice horses made to the nation’s war effort. The horses are being provided by Ormiston Highlands of Kingussie. Ormiston’s have been involved with Highland ponies since the early 1800s and provided the horses for the Lovat Scouts during the First World War.
Serving and ex-servicemen are invited to wear their medals. Those wishing to wear their parent’s or grandparent’s medals should do so pinned to their right lapel/chest.
Highland Council Armed Forces and Veterans' Champion, Councillor Carolyn Caddick said: “It is really important that the right tone is set for this unique centenary event. This an opportunity to reflect on the huge losses that were suffered on all sides, to contemplate the bravery, sacrifice and resilience of millions of ordinary people at home and abroad whose lives were changed forever by this war.”
Later in the evening the Highland capital is taking part in the Lights Out initiative. LIGHTS OUT is a Department for Culture Media & Sport initiated nationwide arts-led project which will create a shared period of reflection in the UK to mark the hour that Britain entered the First World War 100 years ago. At 10pm, the lights will be put out at the Cathedral, the Castle and at the War Memorial at Cavell Gardens. This will be mirrored at a number of sites across the Highlands including the Thurso and Halkirk war memorials.
Convener of The Highland Council, Councillor Jimmy Gray said: “I hope many people will want to participate in this unique commemoration in honour of the many thousands of Highlanders who served in the Great War and to recognise the devastating impact the war had on many Highland communities.”
LIGHTS OUT is an invitation to every building, every business and every community member in the UK on 4 August to turn off their lights from 10pm until 11pm and, where practical and safe, leaving on a single light or candle for this shared moment of reflection. LIGHTS OUT is a value neutral moment which will engage all people of the UK today and will encourage them to reflect from their own individual perspective.