Marking the 100th anniversary of WW1

“The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.” Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Secretary, 3 August 1914.

Lit candles and a tribute at the Cenotaph in London


Tonight – Monday 4 August – marked the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. There have been commemoration ceremonies across the country. Tonight, between 10pm and 11pm, we were encouraged to switch out our lights and leave one light or a candle burning. On Whitehall, at the centre of government, the lights were out with one central light lit at the Treasury.

The Treasury with one central light blazing to mark the 100th anniversary of WW1

There was no central ceremony for Londoners and some people had gathered at the Cenotaph for a very moving candlelit vigil.

Women sit with candles at the Cenotaph in London


A man and a woman lighting candles at the Cenotaph

As Big Ben struck 11, there was complete silence and stillness among those gathered.

People standing outside a building on Whitehall at the Cenotaph

It’s a shame that the traffic kept moving. But perhaps it was fitting too – those millions of people died so that life could go on.

The Cenotaph lit up

The Cenotaph and the beam of light from Parliament

I am proud that Londoners, in the absence of a central formal ceremony for everyone, took it upon themselves to mark the occasion.

Candle burning at the Cenotaph

7 thoughts on “Marking the 100th anniversary of WW1

    1. There were formal ceremonies – there was one going on in Westminster Abbey at the same time as this vigil but the general public couldn’t attend it. Other churches in London held ceremonies and there were ceremonies in other parts of the UK. I wish there had been a big formal ceremony that people could have attended – or that they had stopped the traffic for an hour.

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