December 21 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
The start of the First World War was remembered at a special ceremony at the Cenotaph in Christchurch Park, Ipswich, last night.
Civic leaders, service personnel, representatives of the Royal British Legion, and ordinary members of the public came together for the Lights Out ceremony at the park.
Ipswich has a special link with the war – Field Marshall Earl Kitchener, who was Secretary of State for War at the start of the conflict, was also High Steward of Ipswich.
The hour-long ceremony was narrated by BBC Radio Suffolk’s Rachel Sloane and was opened by Ipswich mayor Bill Quinton, who also read King George V’s message to the British Expeditionary Force during the ceremony.
The role of many organisations during the war was recognised – including the fire service, the Salvation Army, the RSPCA, and the British Red Cross.
Among the more poignant moments were provided by letters from the front read by Bridget Hanley from the Suffolk Record Office.
And borough council chief executive Russell Williams told the story of council employee William Tillott’s war service. At the end of the evening a ceremonial candle was extinguished to mark Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey’s comment: “The lamps are going out across Europe. We shall not see them again in our lifetime.”
Before the ceremony began civic leaders processed to the park from the Town Hall. Some in the park sat on special seats set up while others watched on from the side in quiet contemplation.
Many of those who did attend returned home in time to watch the national ceremony at Westminster Abbey marking the build up to the anniversary of the moment war officially began.
For more coverage of the centenary events, see our First World War page.