The 100th anniversary of the day Britain entered World War 1, August 4, 1914, will not go unnoticed in Coldstream.
On that date the Coldstream branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland are holding a ‘standing parade’ at the town’s war memorial on the High Street at noon and in the evening the town will join the national call to switch off the lights and lighting candles at the war memorial - a symbolic act of reflection and hope.
It will be a pause for reflection on Monday, August 4, during the town’s annual civic week celebrations.
The Royal British Legion was founded by British veterans in the aftermath of the First World War and they are at the forefront of centenary commemorations which includes switching off lights and the lighting of candles between 10-11pm. At the same time Westminster Abbey will be leading the nation with a First World War vigil liturgy broadcast live on the BBC.
“The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.” Sir Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary, uttered these words on the eve of Britain officially entering the First World War. Exactly 100 years later the Royal British Legion is inviting millions of individuals, households and companies to join together in this national moment of reflection.
A RBS spokeperson said: “We hope to light one million candles across the UK to remember each and every one of those Service men and women who gave their lives in the war to end all wars. Please join together with us to create a unique national moment for the United Kingdom.”
Annemarie McCall of the Coldstream branch said: “If possible please come down and light a candle at the war memorial.
“Honour Our Troops will be there from 9.45pm to 11pm with candles and holders for £1 to leave at the war memorial and candles and holders to take home for £1, with all funds raised shared between HOT and RBLS Coldstream.”
At the end of the week the Coldstream Guards Association will lead a service of remembrance in Henderson Park at noon, followed by a parade which will also include No 7 Company Coldstream Guards and Coldstream Guards Cadets marching along the High Street, into Market Street, along Duke Street and back up onto the High Street where the salute will be taken by the Rt Hon Marquess of Donegal, president of the Coldstream branch, at the war memorial.
A month later, on September 17, 150 cyclists will set off from the Coldstream Guards headquarters in Wellington Barracks, London, heading for Coldstream’s French twin town Bennecourt, west of Paris. The cyclists include a serving element of the Regiment from the recently returned 1st Battalion, a veteran contingent and Regimental friends and family, who are due to arrive in Bennecourt on Saturday, September 20.
There will be a WW1 commemoration in Bennecourt with the town’s citizens and French authorities, a party on the banks of the Seine, and a battlefield tour along the route of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions’ Retreat to the Marne in September 1914.