Glasgow remembers the fallen

IT threatened to rain but the sky held back its tears as Glasgow remembered the fallen of the First World War.

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Lord Provost Sadie Docherty, Prince Charles, and Prime Minister David Cameron take the salute at a wreath-laying ceremony in George        Square
Lord Provost Sadie Docherty, Prince Charles, and Prime Minister David Cameron take the salute at a wreath-laying ceremony in George Square

Thousands packed George Square for the first UK commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War.

While they waited, two large screens on the either side of the Cenotaph broadcast a service in nearby Glasgow Cathedral.

A banner on the side of the Glasgow 2014 merchandise tent brought home why they had all turned up. Its simple message read: "In Flanders field the poppies blow between crosses row on row."

Youngsters handed out hymn sheets and copies of the Flanders Field Post, dated Tuesday August 4, 1914 with the headline WW1 Broke Out.

As the Cathedral service ended at 11am, the pipes and drums of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards entered the Square. Coaches carrying Commonwealth heads of state, clergy, senior Armed Forces officers and politicians arrived minutes later as the screens showed poppies and the flag on the City Chambers fluttered at half mast.

At 11.30am the guests invited to the Cathedral service began to take their places on the white chairs flanking the Cenotaph.

Each carried a single red poppy.

City council chief executive George Black was among the first to arrive followed by former BBC war correspondent Katie Adie, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Milliband.

Close behind were city council leader Gordon Matheson and his deputy Archie Graham.

First Minister Alex Salmond greeted members of the congregation as he made his way to his seat and Scottish Labour Party leader Johann Lamont found a chair in the row in front of her husband Archie Graham.

At 11.45am Prince Charles was escorted into the Square by Prime Minister David Cameron and Glasgow Lord Provost Sadie Docherty.

The service of commemoration began with the band of the Parachute Regiment playing God Save the Queen followed by The Lord's My Shepherd. The first reading was by Lord Astor, grandson of Field Marshal Douglas Haig who commanded the British Expeditionary Force from 1915 to the end of the war.

Some fought back tears as he spoke the words: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Emotions continued to rise as Glasgow Cathedral minister Laurence Whitley read poet Laurence Binyon's words, "At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them".

Suddenly, the Last Post sounded out across the heart of the city followed by a lament from a single piper and a two minute silence.

It ended with a trumpet reveille, the hymn Abide With Me and a final prayer for the 37million military personnel and civilians who died in the First World War.

Prince Charles laid a wreath of poppies emblazoned with white Prince of Wales feathers at the Cenotaph as the service drew to a close.

He was followed by Mr Cameron and the Lord Provost, Mr Clegg and Mr Milliband, then Mr Salmond.

Representatives of the Commonwealth paid their tributes in groups of 10 as the wind hit the microphone, giving the eerie impression of a distant canon.

The emotional event ended with Armed Forces veterans marching past Prince Charles, Mr Cameron and Mrs Docherty.

And still it didn't rain.

Earlier, those gathered in the square were among more than 1100 people to attend the Glasgow Cathedral service.

It featured poems, prayers and readings, reflecting the contribution of those from around the Commonwealth.

OPENING the service, Rev Whitley said: "We meet because on a summer's day like this one, 100 years ago, the world changed.

"Our nations and peoples found themselves in a war the like of which had never before been seen and the memory of which still haunts us all.

"In this, the first of many services of commemoration and remembrance of the Great War to be held today and over the next four years, we have come to bow before God, to pray for peace and goodwill amongst the nations, to honour, to remember and to learn."

Sir Trevor McDonald reminded the congregation that by the end of the war 6,146,000 men from the British Isles had seen service, with 761,000 killed and 1,600,000 wounded, as well as 206,000 Irishmen of whom 30,000 died.

The former newsreader added: "During the years to come we shall rightly hear more of the courage and suffering of our forces in the conflict, but especially as this city has known the privilege of welcoming our Commonwealth brothers and sisters to the Games just past, it is right to pause now to remember their contribution."

vivienne.nicoll@eveningtimes.co.uk

William tells of 'power of reconciliation'

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 several commemorations in Belgium.

Delivering a speech in Liege, he said that war from 1914 to 1918, which claimed the lives of millions including 750,000 British and Commonwealth troops, was now "unthinkable". But he warned that events in Ukraine were testament to the fact that "instability continues to stalk our continent".

William was joined by wife Kate at the Allies' Cointe Memorial. The duchess chatted to French president Francois Hollande, while Ireland's president Michael D Higgins, and Belgium's King Philippe and Queen Mathilde also attended.

William said: "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."

As part of the ceremony, a 10-year-old girl released a white balloon as a sign of peace and reconciliation.

German president Joachim Gauck said: "We are grateful to have been able to live together with peace for so long."

In Folkestone, Kent, Prince Harry unveiled a monument where millions of men marched to boats taking them across the Channel to fight.

Candle tribute to the dead

LIGHTS went out across the UK last night to mark the end of a day of commemorations for the millions who fell during four years of warfare in Europe.

Between 10pm and 11pm, the Royal British Legion's Lights Out event saw households, businesses and public buildings across the UK turn out their lights to leave a single candle or light burning.

The event was inspired by wartime Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey, who said on the eve of the First World War: "The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."

The day concluded with a candle-lit vigil at Westminster Abbey and the "lights out" event around the UK.

As part of a remembrance project, lights at Glasgow City Council's City Chambers were dimmed, leaving a single light burning brightly in a window overlooking George Square.

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