LiveDorset remembers: Coverage of the centenary of the First World War

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Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

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  • Today marks the 100th anniversary of Britain's involvement in the First World War.
  • There will be ceremony's across the UK to remember the fallen including at Westminster Abby later tonight to mark 11pm, when Britain declared war on Germany.
  • Lights will be turned out across the UK and candles lit to remember.
  • Services will also be held in Belgium to mark the occasion.



Remember #LightsOut tonight at 10pm-11pm to honour #WorldWar1 heroes. Light a single candle to remember.

At 10pm-11pm everyone in the UK is asked to turn off their lights - leaving only a single light or candle for this symbolic act of reflection and hope.

The idea for the project comes from the quote by Sir Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary, who spoke these words on the eve of Britain officially, entered the First World War.

"The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."









Discover about life for Dorset soldiers in the Army Cyclist Corps.

Click here

Dorset Echo:


STAFF, residents and their family members united to commemorate the centenary of the First World War at a Dorchester care home.
Held on the 100th anniversary of the date that war was declared, the event at Maiden Castle House care home remembered all those men and women who bravely lost their lives during the conflict.
Talented local musician Elizabeth Carter performed the Last Post bugle call and staff at the home read a selection of poetry by war poets from the First World War.
Home manager Dawn Palmer, said: “We had a lovely day marking the centenary of the First World War with Care South residents and their families.
“It was an important day for our residents, many of whom had relatives who fought in the conflict.
“We'd like to thank everyone who came along to our event and helped make the day so special.”
Throughout the day, the Gloucester Road home's lounge displayed military memorabilia for visitors to browse, and a representative from Tiger Collectibles was on hand to talk people through the items on offer.
More singing was had by a local singer, who performed a selection of well-known songs from both World Wars, and there was also arts and crafts in reception.
A raffle was held, with all proceeds going towards the Residents' Amenity Fund.
Care South is a registered charity.


RESIDENTS of Weymouth gathered to pay their respects at the town's First World War memorial service.
The service took place at Weymouth War Memorial on the Esplanade, which was led by Rev Dennis Mould.
Mayor of Weymouth and Portland Kate Wheller and representatives from the Royal British Legion attended the service.

Dorset Echo:
Wooden crosses were put down at the memorial during the service to remember the 600 soldiers from the area whose lives were lost during the Great War.
Many of these crosses included dedications from relatives, school pupils and businesses.
Prior to the event, more than 200 Wey Valley School students chose a name from cenotaph and wrote a message to the soldiers who lost their lives.

Dorset Echo:
Customers at Alf's Fish and Chip Shop and The Park Hotel also made dedications.
Coun Wheller put down the first wooden cross. Speaking after the service, she said: “This is an important day: not to celebrate but for commemoration.
“It was good to see the many people that were there.
“It's very important that our young people keep the memories of what their forefathers did for them.”
Naomi Turner, chairman of the Weymouth branch of the Royal British Legion, said she had been planning the service with the council's support for six months.
She said: “It was exactly the way I wanted it to be. A lot of things are very loud and noisy. This was about personal memories and about people's own thoughts.
“It was about remembering people who have nobody else to remember them.”
Of all the 600 crosses planted at the memorial, only a handful went without a dedication.
This initially included Valerie Leare's grandfather, William Bennett, whose name appears on the memorial.
Ms Leare, 71, appeared at the service to pay her respects. She looked for her granddad's cross among the 600 planted.
She said: “I was talking to Naomi about the crosses and I said I was looking for my granddad.
“As I turned around and looked there it was staring at me in the face.
“It was like an angel had pointed and said there it is. We have left something on there for my mum. She'll be 99 in October.”
Holidaymakers Ian Horne, 59, and Amanda Ballinger, 54, watched the service take place and paid their respects.
Amanda said: “I felt very moved. I could even remember my dad because he passed away around eight years ago.
“I can remember him going to every remembrance service with all of his medals and being very proud. That brought a tear to my eye.”
Ian said: “It's a duty, really. It's something we should all remember and be thankful for.”
Sea Cadets were also at the service. Harrison Hewitt, 11, from Puddletown, said: “It's showing our respects, showing respect to those who gave their lives to fight for us. They saved our country. It's like saying, 'You helped us so let's not forget you. It's important to remember you.'

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BOVINGTON Tank Museum held a memorial service and battle re-enactments to commemorate the centenary anniversary of the First World War.
Hundreds of people gathered on the banks of the museum to watch the demonstrations, and pay their respects to the fallen heroes 100 years after war was declared - and 1.1 million poppy petals were scattered in recognition of the same number of Allied Forces lives that were lost during the conflict.

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The Lord Lieutenant for Dorset, Angus Campbell, read out the Ode of Remembrance speech before the last post and the two minutes silence, which observed impeccably by the audience.
Mr Campbell said: “The service was poignant and the poppy release was quite something. I think it's very important to embark on four years of commemorations, starting today, to recognise what happened”
“It's the commemoration of all wars. All wars are a disaster but you have to take away from that, that people were willing to fight for what they thought was right at the time and for their country.
“We can never, ever forget what people did, they were hugely courageous and we should commemorate that.”

Dorset Echo:
With a voiceover providing a running commentary, crowds were treated to an air display by the seven aircraft from the Great War Air Display team, who gave a demonstration on one of the historic air battles that helped define the war.
Following the air battle, the museum revealed its replica Mark IV tank and gave a demonstration on how the Allied soldiers used the tank in their operations during trench warfare, which included deafening explosions and gunfire to give the audience a taste of life on the front line.
The memorial service then started, with the introduction of the Royal British Legion and the Queen's Lord Lieutenant for Dorset, Angus Campbell. Mr Campbell read out the Ode of Remembrance Speech, which was followed by the Last Post and two minutes silence.
John Ridout, standard bearer for Puddletown, Sam Trott, standard bearer for Beaminster and Norman Pearce, standard bearer for Christchurch, all took part in the service.
Mr Ridout said: “When the poppies were released, they were blown across us. It made us feel proud to be there, it was a real honour and privilege to be a part of it.”

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Honour those who died in the First World War with the Royal British Legions Lights Out event tonight.

At 10pm-11pm everyone in the UK is asked to turn off their lights - leaving only a single light or candle for this symbolic act of reflection and hope.

The idea for the project comes from the quote by Sir Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary, who spoke these words on the eve of Britain officially, entered the First World War.

"The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."

You can watch the RBL video here #LightsOut



A Dorset artist created a wry commentary on the First World War with his cartoons.

Discover the story of Eustace Nash here

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One Dorset war hero took two mustard gas shells home and used them as doorstops for many years.

Read his story here

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Do you want to know the real story of Lassie? Well it all started with Dorset's Great War hereoes on HMS Formidable.

When rescuers thought all was lost and the sailors had died, Lassie started licking the face of one man, who was discovered to be still alive.

Read the full story here.

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Discover Bridport's Great War hero Frederick Hubert Reginald Travers.

He died when an explosion ripped apart HMS Bulwark.

Read his story here

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The sacrifice of Loders soldiers is remembered.

Read all about them here.

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Did you know that seven years before the outbreak of World War One that the German Kaiser took up residency in Dorset for a 'rest cure?'

Read the story here.

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Poundbury's World War One POW camp once had nearly 4,500 internees. Its been called 'Dorset's best kept secret.'

Click here to get the full story.

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From amassing the fleet off Portland to Poundbury's POW camp, historian Rodney Legg, looks back at Dorset's role in the Great War.

Read the full story here

Weymouth during the war:

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Walter Hill from Dorchester, wrote a series of letters to his mother during his time in service in the First World War.

After his death, his mother published them in a book.

Here historian Brian Bates, looks into the lieutenants history,  as part of the research for his book, Dorchester Remembers the Great War.

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Discover the men of Dorset who recieved the Victoria Cross during the Great War. Like Admiral Victor Crutchley below.

Read the full story here.

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The Duke of Cambridge marked the 100th anniversary of Britain's entry into the First World War and said: ''We were enemies more than once in the last century, and today we are friends and allies.''
 William saluted those who died in the Great War to give the world freedom as he attended the first of a series of commemorations in Belgium.
 Delivering a speech in Liege, he said that war between the nations from 1914 to 1918, claiming the lives of millions, including 750,000 British and Commonwealth troops, was now ''unthinkable''.
 But he warned that recent events in Ukraine were testament to the fact that ''instability continues to stalk our continent''.
 William was joined by wife Kate at the Allies' Memorial at Cointe. The duchess, who wore a cream coat dress and pale hat, was seen chatting to French president Francois Hollande before the ceremony started.
 Ireland's president Michael D Higgins and Belgium's King Philippe and Queen Mathilde also attended.
 William told the guests: ''The peace that we here enjoy together as allies and partners does not simply mean no more bloodshed - it means something deeper than that.
 ''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.
 ''Not only is war between us unthinkable, but former adversaries have worked together for three generations to spread and entrench democracy, prosperity and the rule of law across Europe, and to promote our shared values around the world.
 ''We were enemies more than once in the last century, and today we are friends and allies. We salute those who died to give us our freedom. We will remember them.''
 As part of the ceremony, a 10-year-old girl released a white balloon as a sign of peace and reconciliation. At the same time thousands of other balloons in the colours of the flags of the countries invited to the commemoration were also released.
 German president Joachim Gauck said it was ''unjustifiable'' for Germany to have invaded Belgium, adding that nationalism ''bonded almost everyone's hearts and minds''.
 He added: ''We are grateful to have been able to live together with peace for so long in Europe.''
 At 11pm on August 4, 1914, Britain declared war on Germany, ushering in four years of darkness, despair and appalling tragedy.
 Until the armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, millions of lives were lost, including 750,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers, in what was the bloodiest conflict the world had known.



British Pathe footage of the mobilisation of men after war was announced.

Thanks to British Pathe.







The Royal Family in 1916 including King George V and Queen Mary.

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British troops carry duck boards across marsh land during the Battle of the Somme.

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Learn more about a Powerstock project to unearth its World War One history.

Volunteers are undertaking research into the parish's fallen to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War 1.

Including the story of William Charles Penny Stone.

Read the full story here




Remember to light a candle at 10pm tonight to remember all those who fought and died in World War One.


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William George Kingdon Squibb lived in the Ridgeway above Weymouth.

William was in the 1st Battalion Dorset Regiment and before he was called up into active service one of his details was to escort German prisoners of war down Ridgeway Hill.

His story was passed on to us by his granddaughter Ruth Hoadley, who lives in Preston.

She said: “The prisoners complained of being thirsty, so as they were close to granddad's home he took them up the rough track and sat them on the ground outside.
“My granny brought out buckets of water for them and was met by jeering neighbours who didn't approve of her being kind to the enemy.
“She bravely faced them with the words 'They are all some mother's son'.”

William was finally called up in March 1917, despite the Government's assurance that fathers of large families would not see active service.
He died of wounds just three weeks later, on April 16, 1917, aged 37, near the French village of Foreste.

The Upwey Parish News reported his death in sombre style:
'It was with great regret that the village heard the news that Mr Squibb had fallen in the great battle of the advance in France.
'Living in the Bincombe houses on Ridgeway Hill, the family is not properly speaking in Upwey parish, so his name does not appear on our Roll of Honour, but it must always remain an honoured memory in the village.

'He was one of the older men who belonged to the National reserve, responded to the call of their country as soon as war broke out, being used at first for Home Service only.
'But when the age was put up he joined the 4th Dorsets and was soon in the fighting line. At the time of his death he had seen a good deal of service.

'He believed very firmly that God would answer the prayers of his wife and family by bringing him safe through. But the answer for them too has been that the cup may not pass away from them unless they drink it, and we ask God that they learn to say with their redeemer 'thy will be done' and that His angel from Heaven will strengthen them through their agony'.

Read the full story here.

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A British Pathe film featuring artillery in the First World War.

Thanks to British Pathe.



#WorldWar1 #WeWillRememberThem

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Scenes from the First World War from the British Pathe archive.

Thanks to British Pathe.


Soldiers in World War One in Weymouth. But do you know which shop they are outside? Comment below and tell us.

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One of the first tanks ever used in the First World War

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Neutral Belgium's involvement in the First World War stemmed from an ultimatum the country was given by Germany on August 2 1914 demanding free passage for its troops into France.
 Belgium rejected the demand and Germany invaded on the morning of August 4, and on the same day the first Belgian soldier, Antoine Fonck, was killed outside Liege.
 Today, other key guests from the 83 countries invited to the event included Ireland president Michael D Higgins.
 A film was aired showing original archive images of the invasion of Belgium, the resistance of the Belgium Army and the destruction of Loncin Fort.
 Following speeches, two cannon shots were fired before the King of Belgium laid wreaths at the foot of the memorial.
 King Philippe told the audience: ''We are paying tribute today to the courage and dignity of those engaged in the fighting and those who lived in inhuman conditions.
 ''We remember also the cruelty and barbarism, healed as we are of our resentment and of the terrible wounds that affected our families.
 ''Finally we are expressing our gratitude to all of those who, in the depths of the darkest nights of the conflict, built up the powerful momentum of solidarity when faced with the suffering of the people and the desperate food shortages.''
 He added: ''The memory of the First World War gives us food for thought about the responsibility of leaders and the decisions they can take to keep the peace and bring nations closer together.
 ''This challenge is now of major importance. The European memory reminds us that no peace can be sustained without a state of mind that overcomes the suffering endured, goes beyond the question of guilt and sets its sights firmly on the future.
 ''Peaceful Europe, unified Europe, democratic Europe. Peace is what our grandparents longed for with all their might.''
 German president Joachim Gauck said it was ''unjustifiable'' for Germany to have invaded Belgium, adding that nationalism ''bonded almost everyone's hearts and minds''.
 He added: ''We are grateful to have been able to live together with peace for so long in Europe.''
 A minute's silence was held followed by the Last Post and 12 more cannon shots symbolising the resistance of the Liege forts. Between August 4 and 6, the Belgians and the Germans each lost about 1,000 lives around Liege.

Picture of the Battle of the Somme, which took place in French and Belgian lands.

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The First World War ''profoundly changed our world'', Prime Minister David Cameron said as he paid tribute to the sacrifice made by those who lost their lives.
 Speaking outside Glasgow Cathedral ahead of a service of commemoration for Commonwealth leaders, Mr Cameron said it was important to find new ways of bringing the experiences of those involved in the conflict to life.
 He told reporters: ''It was an extraordinary day in Britain's history, and when you think that almost every family, almost every community was affected... Almost a million British people were lost in this war, it's right that almost a hundred years on we commemorate it, we think about it and we mark it properly.''
 He added: ''I think it is important to remember the outbreak of the war, because although there was an enormous amount of waste and loss of life, there was a cause that young men rallied to at the beginning of the war, which was the idea that Europe shouldn't be dominated by one power, that a country, a small country like Belgium shouldn't be simply snuffed out.''
 Mr Cameron said Britain entered the war because ''there were important principles at stake''.
 He went on: ''That there shouldn't be the domination of Europe by one power, that small countries had a right to their independence and their existence, and these are problems that still confront us today and some of these problems are actually the consequences of the conflicts of the 20th century - the First World War and the Second World War.''
 He said that, along with the terrible loss of life and suffering, the war also changed the world for better.
 ''The emancipation of women, the fact that women then got the vote, participated more in the workplace, there were changes in medicine, massive improvements in our world - all those things are worth remembering and that's why, as a Government and as a country, we should be refurbishing our war memorials, and we are,'' he said.
 He added that it was also important that schools continue taking pupils to the First World War battlefields and recommended visiting the newly refurbished Imperial War Museum, which he described as ''spellbinding''.
 Mr Cameron also said he had researched his own family's involvement in the war, and would be visiting the French battlefield where his great-great-uncle fought and died.
 He described going to war as one of the ''most difficult decisions that any prime minister has to take''.
 ''Sending men and women into harm's way is a decision that you think about more than any you make as prime minister,'' he added.



Learn about Dorset soldier Reginald T Salmon, whose sacrifice was commemorated in a stained glass window in London's Metropolitan University.

Read the full story here

Dorset Echo:


Here is some British Pathe news footage of soldiers affected by shell shock in the trenches of World War One.

Be warned, the footage is disturbing and shows the traumatised soldiers staggering, shuffling, twitching and shaking.

However, it shows their transformations after treatment.

It shows soldiers at Seale Hayne in Devon - a military hospital which played a huge role in curing shell shock victims during The Great War.

One Doctor, Arthur Hurst, used techniques including hypnosis and massage to help the soldiers. Around 90% of his patients were cured in one session.

Thank you to British Pathe archive.




Here's a British Pathe tribute to man's four legged friends who helped out in the Great War.



Read about what life was like in World War One in Dorset.

Within days changes had ben made to normal life. There was Martial law, that meant that loitering around railway bridges ‘may be visited by severe consequences’ and there were regulations to prohibit the ‘circulation of alarming news’.

There were restrictions about shining lights at night and Germans, Austrains and Hungarians had to register as aliens.

Click here to read the full story.



Lawrence of Arabia, who spent his final years in Dorset and lies in Moreton graveyard, was one of the most enigmatic and controversial heroes of the First World War.

At his funeral, there were no flowers, no honour guard lining the route to his final resting place.

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The so-called uncrowned king of Arabia had spearheaded one of the First World War’s most daring and subversive military attacks, bringing to an end 500 years of Ottoman domination of the Arabs.

Feted by the press, with the rich and famous clamouring to meet him, with titles, an influential job and illustrious future beckoning, he turned it all down to become a lowly recruit in the army.

Click here to read the full story.


Here's a video of Australian troops leaving Weymouth during the First World War.


Here is some footage from British Pathe news about the Battle of the Somme in 1916.


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Here are the local events:

*A First World War memorial service will be held at Weymouth War Memorial on the Esplanade today (Mon) from 10.30am.
Mayor of Weymouth and Portland Kate Wheller will be among those attending along with representatives from the Royal British Legion.
Children from The Wey Valley School have been making crosses for the Centenary of the Great War, by each choosing a name from the cenotaph and writing a message to the soldiers who lost their lives.

*A torchlight vigil is to be held in West Bay tonight (Monday, Aug4) at 10.45pm to mark the centenary of the beginning of the First World War. It hoped that 100 people will be available to 'bear' a torch on Harbour Green. The names of those local men who lost their lives during the four year long conflict will be read and two minutes silence observed.

*A Centenary Commemoration event is taking place at the Tank Museum, Bovington, today (Mon) featuring talks, displays and children's activites.
A 'Poppy Explosion' is being conducted as part of the event as 1.1 million poppy petals burst over the crowd.
It is being organised by Event Horizon and ISSEE special effects experts from the film industry.
The figure represents the number of casualties both military and civilian suffered during the First World War and will prove to be a very poignant moment during the service to be conducted from 12.45pm.

*Staff and residents at Care South's Maiden Castle House care home in Dorchester are inviting their friends, families and the local community, to join them in commemorating the centenary of the First World War today from 10.30am to 3.30pm.
At 11am, local musician, Elizabeth Carter, will perform the 'Last Post' bugle call and staff at the home will read a selection of poetry.
The morning will give residents and their families a chance to talk about their memories.
Throughout the day, the home's lounge will host a display of military memorabilia.

*St Christopher's Church in Winfrith Newburgh is inviting everyone to come to the church at 6pm tonight (Monday) for readings, music and lighting of candles.
There has been some historical research undertaken by Colin Beet about the men shown on the war memorial in the church. The church would particularly like to invite any relatives or friends of the men to come that particular evening.

*On Friday, August 8, the Mayor of Dorchester will be opening the Dorchester and The Great War Exhibition at the Corn Exchange. Take a step back in time and get a taste of Dorchester during the Great War. The event is free and is on from 10am - 7pm. There will be a history trail starting at 10.30am, live music from the era throughout the day, free tea, coffee and WW1 Cake, ration stew and workshops to enjoy.


Today marks the 100 yaers since Britain declared war on Germany.

On July 28, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. Germany became involved and invaded Luxembourg and Belgium and threatened France.

Britain then declared war on August 4.

The conflict would last until November 11, 1918.


By 10pm people will start to turn their lights out for an hour to mark the 100th anniversary. Candles will be lit.

At 11pm there will be a candlelit vigil at Westminster Abbey to mark the point 100 years ago that Britain declared war on Germany.

Then candles will be extinguished until only an oil lamp at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior remains.


Later this evening the British government and Commonwealth War Graves Commission will host an international event at St Symphorien Cemetary, outside Mons.


At 11am Prince Harry will inspect the troops at Folkstone


The Prince of Wales will be attending a Service of Remembrance at 10am at Glasgow Cathedral along with PM David Cameron.


Here's our commemorative wrap-around front page from today

Dorset Echo:


You can also check out these First World War stories that have been written as part of our coverage. They include features about the Dorset Regiment, the legend of Lawrence of Arabia and a Dorset hero who was the first airman to be awarded the VC.


Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of the centenary of the First World War.

Through the day we'll be highlighting some of amazing and heartbreaking stories we've uncovered from Dorset during the war, as well as covering what's happening locally and nationally.

Have a look here for today's Echo story - remembering the fallen.

Comments (1)

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10:32pm Mon 4 Aug 14

catwoman5 says...

I thought lights were supposed to be going out. Obviously West Dorset didn't get the message - how very sad!
I thought lights were supposed to be going out. Obviously West Dorset didn't get the message - how very sad! catwoman5
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