LiveWorld War One centenary: As it happened


  1. Monday 4 August 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the start of Britain's involvement in WW1
  2. About 17m soldiers and civilians worldwide were killed between 1914 and 1918
  3. Royal Family members and world leaders attended commemorative events in the UK and elsewhere
  4. An international ceremony of reconciliation was held outside the Belgian city of Mons
  5. The day's events ended with a candle-lit vigil at Westminster Abbey and "lights out" events around the UK

Live Reporting

By Tom Moseley, Patrick Evans, Dhruti Shah, Anna Jones, Claire Bates, Nick Eardley, Kerry Alexandra, Kate McGeown and Gerry Holt

All times stated are UK

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That ends our live coverage of events commemorating the centenary of Britain's entry into World War One around the UK and overseas.

At Glasgow Cathedral David Cameron said: "It's right to remember that there was a cause that these young men volunteered for and that was to stop the domination of Europe by one power and to go to the defence of a defenceless country, Belgium."

At Liege Prince William said: "The fact that the presidents of Germany and Austria are here today and that other nations, then enemies, are here too, bears testimony to the power of reconciliation."

Julia Moore

BBC News at Guildford Cathedral

The service at Guildford Cathedral has come to a close and the last few people are making their way home. A nine-year-old girl, Kate told our reporter that she "was there to remember".

The candle-lit vigil was beautifully peaceful with many poignant moments for reflection; not least a reading by Tam Williams of "This is no case of petty right or wrong" by Edward Thomas which includes the lines:

"This is no case of petty right or wrong

That politicians or philosophers

Can judge. I hate not Germans, nor grow hot

With love of Englishmen to please newspapers."

News from 1914

The world on the brink of war

Getty Images
British troops moving up to the trenches

Remembering World War One

World War One was the most catastrophic conflict the world had ever seen. Around 17 million soldiers and civilians were killed between 1914 and 1918.

Ben Maeder

BBC Cumbria


In Whitehaven's Castle Park the crowds were asked to bring their own candles to the service and they responded well!


Former head of the British Army Lord Dannatt gave a reading from Westminster Abbey's Great Lectern: "nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more".


At Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff this evening, Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan gave a sermon in which he described war as a "sign of human failure" but said it was sometimes necessary as "the lesser of two evils".


"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it."

A final reading by Canon in Residence Andrew Tremlett brings the service at Westminster Abbey to a close.

Ashley Heath

BBC Wiltshire


Soldiers of 3 (UK) Div, based in Bulford in Wiltshire, begin their evening service at their garrison church.

Getty Images

"Oh, it's you that have the luck, out there in blood and muck: You were born beneath a kindly star"

Actress Penelope Keith read the poem Many Sisters to Many Brothers, by Rose Macaulay, at the Westminster Abbey service

News from 1914

The world on the brink of war

Museum of the Mercian Regiment (WFR Collection)
Ernest Egerton, the haulage hand from Staffordshire awarded the VC

A Village Hero Decorated for 'Reckless Bravery'

Ernest Egerton worked in Florence Colliery near Stoke. He enlisted aged 18 in the 3rd North Staffordshire Regiment in 1915.

Ernest was decorated after launching a solo attack on enemy dugouts at Passchendaele Ridge on 20 September 1917. His citation for the Victoria Cross read that the "reckless bravery of the NCO relieved in less than 30 seconds an extremely difficult situation. His gallantry is beyond all praise."

Here is author Sebastian Faulks, reading in Westminster Abbey from his novel Birdsong.:


Tom Bayly

BBC News at Westminster Abbey

Crowds have gathered outside the Abbey, many with candles of their own flickering in the darkness, as those inside the Abbey, and across the nation, reflect on the events of 100 years ago.

Get involved


Paul C Cooper

Paul C Cooper's lights out remembrance.

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Dan Allen

Dan Allen emails: "To the men and women that gave their lives such that I may live mine."

Actor Mark Gatiss gave a reading from Poets' Corner at Westminster Abbey.


A view from above of the service in Westminster Abbey:


In Westminster Abbey, there is a reading from Cardinal Vincent Nichols before Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi extinguishes the second of four candles. The Duchess of Cornwall will put out the final one.

BBC Radio 5 live

BBC Radio 5 Live is being broadcast from Birmingham, where a lights out commemoration is taking place in the cathedral. Listen live here (UK only) or on this page using the video and audio carousel.

News from 1914

The world on the brink of war

Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum
Major General Sir Fabian Ware with King George V at Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium

Fallen but not forgotten

At the start of the war, the graves of fallen soldiers were not marked or recorded. Fabian Ware, a commander of a Red Cross unit, was determined things should change.

With his persistence, the War Office realised that proper care of the war graves would boost the morale of troops. His diligence was recognised when the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission was established by Royal Charter with Ware as its vice-chairman.

News from 1914

The world on the brink of war

National Trust
Rudyard Kipling's former home - Bateman's, Sussex, then and now

Rudyard Kipling's War

Rudyard Kipling is renowned for his poetry and children's stories, but his writing during World War One was driven by political discomfort and personal stress.

Kipling had predicted the war. He financed rifle clubs and spoke at recruiting meetings long before it began. When war broke out, the British public looked to him for commentary.

Kipling's only son, John, for whom he had written his best-loved poem; If, was killed in action just six weeks after his 18th birthday.

Kipling was devastated. He became a prominent member of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, offering simple epitaphs and verse to mark individual actions and events.

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