“THE lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.”
A century after that ominous eve-of-war warning, the words of Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey are being used to inspire rather than terrify.
It is hoped a million people in the UK will light a candle on August 4, a century to the day that Britain declared war on Germany, “for a shared moment of reflection” between 10pm and 11pm.
Each candle or light will represent the estimated million servicemen and women who died.
Across Yorkshire, the Lights Out campaign is backed by local authorities, stately homes and Royal British Legion branches.
Leeds Council is planning a late-night service at Leeds Minster followed by a remembrance event at Victoria Gardens which is expected to include a light installation depicting poppies tumbling down the war memorial.
At Castle Howard in North Yorkshire a single light will illuminate the gilt lantern, 70ft above the home’s impressive Great Hall.
British Legion branches will also play their part.
A service will be held by Wakefield’s Horbury, Sitlington and Ossett Royal British Legion and in Filey, Legion members and sea cadets will carry 73 lights in remembrance of the 73 local men who gave their lives.
Pauline Richardson, of Filey Royal British Legion, said: “All 73 names on the war memorial are Filey men. We are doing this to remember them.”
The branch has acquired 73 glass jars, each bearing the name of a soldier and containing a candle and soprano Anna Shaw will sing I Vow to Thee, My Country at the Filey event.
Debbie Harding, area manager for The Royal British Legion in Yorkshire, said: “The Legion is bringing together communities across Yorkshire in support of our Lights Out campaign on 4th August, which aims to see over one million candles lit across the UK in commemoration of those who died in the First World War.
“These events will give the public an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made by those who fought for the freedom we enjoy today.
“As the nation’s custodians of remembrance, the Legion encourages the people of Yorkshire to join the rest of the nation in turning their lights out and lighting a single candle to remember every service man and woman who died during the First World War.”
There will be a candlelit vigil at Malton war memorial in North Yorkshire, a candle will be lit at the Book of Remembrance at Halifax Town Hall and a special event is being planned for Blackpool’s famous Illuminations.
Councillor Steve Sweeney, of Calderdale Council, said: “The Book of Remembrance is a record of the people from the local area who lost their lives during the First World War, and commemorates the sacrifices they made. Lighting the candle is also an opportunity to remember everyone who served in the war, and shows our community’s respect for everything they went through.”
He said the centenary was also being marked with the restoration of Calderdale’s 28 war memorials.