Colchester: Town troops mark centenary of First World War
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Soldiers from Colchester Garrison marked the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War with a special ceremony.
Some 250 troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade were joined by Colchester mayor John Elliott and town MP Sir Bob Russell for a commemorative service at Merville Barracks last night.
At 11pm, the time the British ultimatum to Germany expired and war was formally declared in 1914, lanterns carried by soldiers were turned off.
The ceremony replicated similar events held across the country inspired by the famous comment by the then Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey, who said: “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”
Led by Reverend Father Nick Farrell, chaplain to 13 Air Assault Support Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, the service featured Bible readings, prayers and speeches and poetry from the First World War.
Brigadier Nick Borton, commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, said: “The service was a simple, yet powerful, way for troops to join with Colchester’s civic dignitaries to mark the outbreak of the First World War.
“Many of our antecedent Regiments and Corps served with distinction throughout that terrible conflict, and this was a rare and moving moment for us to commemorate their sacrifice, and mark the start of that critical moment in history.”