On August 4, 1914, Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey uttered the immortal words: “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”
Now veterans in West Norfolk are calling on people across the area to light a candle to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Royal British Legion branches in Lynn, Hunstanton and Downham will be remembering the thousands of men who gave their lives fighting in the trenches or at sea during ceremonies on Monday to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the war to end all wars.
The Great War changed the lives of everyone in the country and the King’s Lynn area was particularly badly hit.
Lights Out is an initiative encouraging everyone in the UK to turn off their lights between 10pm and 11pm on August 4 2014 – leaving only a single light or candle for this symbolic act of reflection.
The vision is to have candles being lit at every single war memorial, community centre and home all over Britain so that over one million candles will be lit to commemorate every service man and woman who lost their lives.
Centenary candles are available from M&S stores with all profits going to the Royal British Legion.
In Lynn, duty manager Sue Tite said sales of the candles have gone “exceptionally well”.
She said: “We have got the candles all over the store and people were asking for them before we had received the stocks. They have sold incredibly well and people have been buying a number for their friends.”
Chairman of the Hunstanton Legion branch, Roy Evans said: “This was a horrific war and probably one of the worst. It is really important that we do still remember the thousands of lives which were sacrificed to try and bring peace.
“I hope people will join in and light a candle.”
The branch will be laying crosses and lighting candles at the cenotaph from 8pm.
The Lynn Royal British Legion Club in Tower Street is hoping to support the campaign.
Branch chairman David Norman said: “I would encourage people to switch off their lights. We are hoping to support the campaign if it is safe with up to 100 people in the club.
“This is an important thing to mark.”
The branch will be holding a poignant ceremony earlier in the evening to remember The Fallen. A host of standards will be parading from the club to the war memorial in Tower Gardens at 7.15pm for a service at 7.30pm. People are invited to bring their own candles to light during the service.
Mr Norman said: “It is going to be a moving service. Please come and remember those who gave their lives.”
Downham Legion members will be holding a remembrance service and laying wreaths at the war memorial at 11am on Monday.
Swaffham RBL is gathering at the town War Memorial on Monday by 9.45pm each with a candle. From 10pm onwards the vigil will be kept. It is envisaged that during this time the names of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice will be read out. Also one or more of the poems. Toward the end of the vigil candles will be extinguished until at 11pm the only one left burning will be held by the Town Mayor, Shirley Mathews.