IT was a day of remembrance for West Dorset as events were held to mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War on Monday.

Services were also held across Europe to remember those who fought and died in the conflict.

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.

At 10pm people switched off their lights across the UK as an act of remembrance and candles were lit as part of a Lights Out event organised by the Royal British Legion.

The hour between 10pm and 11pm represented the final minutes of peace on 4 August 1914, with Britain declaring war on Germany at 11pm.

More than 100 people gather for torchlight vigil

BRIDPORT: Residents and holidaymakers turned out in force to commemorate 100 years since the First World War.

A torchlight vigil event, organised by churches together in Bridport and District, drew crowds to the harbour green at West Bay at 10.45pm on Monday night.

More than 100 people arrived to bear a torch in commemoration and a welcome speech and introduction was made by the Rev Philip Ringer, who led the service.

This was followed by an opening prayer and then torches were lit one by one by Rev Ringer.

The names of the six local men who lost their lives during the four year conflict - Robert Buckler, William Gape, Herbert Gush, Richard Glare, Frederick Hoskins and Alfred Oliver were then read out from the war memorial in St John's Church.

A two minute silence and a hymn followed shortly after, before the torches were gradually extinguished until there was just one torch left alight.

The evening concluded with a blessing and dismissal.

Rev Ringer said thanks must be given to the West Bay harbour master James Radcliffe and the Bridport Round Table.

Round Table chairman Pete Dacey, who attended the torchlight event, said volunteers from the committee were helping out on the night.

He added: “It's important from a local perspective to do something here in the community to remember and commemorate WW1.”

Bridport resident Daphne Mundy, who lost both her parents in the First World War, said for her the West Bay event was a very special occasion.

She added: “We should remember the First World War and commemorate it; it's very important to do so even after 100 years.

“If we don't remember it it's more likely to be forgotten. I lost both my parents in the war so events like this are very special to me.”

West Bay residents Jim Slade, Liz Slade and Natalie Radcliffe also played their part in the commemorative event.

Jim said: “The First World War was and still is a very significant event and our lives have been affected by it.”

Liz added that soldiers in the war gave so much and they need to be remembered, while Natalie described the West Bay service as a 'once in a lifetime experience' to pay her respects to the fallen.

Tributes at moving church service

BRIDPORT: St Mary's Church was full of people marking the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War in a moving church service.

Bridport Heritage Forum member Sheila Meaney, who researched the stories of all 140 names on the war memorial and unveiling them after the church service, said there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

The service included a story in words, music and poems of a young man enlisting after listening to the then vicar, Canon Henry Richard Farrer.

The Rev Andrew Evans read extracts from his patriotic speeches. The text of his speeches came from Mrs Meaney's primary research source - Bridport and the Great War by John William Rowson, a former editor of the Bridport News, whose own son died in the conflict.

Mrs Meaney told the stories of the first two Bridport casualties - Ernest Greenham, serving on HMS Hawke; torpedoed by U9 on October 15th 1914 and Joseph Jeans 1st Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment; killed at the Battle of Bassee, October 13, 1914.

Relatives attend commemoration service

SHIPTON GORGE: A Service of Commemoration was held at St Martin's Church, Shipton Gorge on Sunday in remembrance of the four Shipton men who died in World War I and to give thanks for all who served their country in a conflict that started 100 years ago.

The congregation included relatives of the fallen - David Stevens and his sister Joan, the grandchildren of Reginald Stevens; Christine Suter the great-niece of Ernest White; and Graham Gale the grandson of Jack Gale. They are pictured at the Commonwealth War Grave of Jack Gale with members of their families together with the Rev Philip Ringer and James Webster, a Lay Minister and Shipton Gorge resident, who together led the service. The congregation also remembered Will Sanders, whose great-niece Barbara sent a message saying that he would be in her thoughts as the village honoured his memory.

The commemoration continued on Monday evening with a Candlelight Vigil service at which the candles were extinguished to mark the moment that Britain had entered the war at 11pm on 4 August 1914.

St Martin's Church is open daily for all to enter for quiet contemplation and reflection and to see the World War I display that includes photographs of local men who took part in the Great War.

Candles floated on the River Lym

LYME REGIS: The community rallied round to remember those who went to war with candles on the River Lym.

Lyme residents were encouraged to light a candle in commemoration of the outbreak of the First World War.

As part of the Lyme Regis Regatta and Carnival Week, the carnival committee held a WW1 commemorative event on Monday night with candles on the River Lym at 10pm and a special cry by the town crier, Alan Vian, at 11pm.

More than 500 candles floated down the River Lym as the town remembered those who went to war.

Town crier Alan Vian described the commemorative event as 'momentous' and added: “We expected to have a small group of people watching but we were joined by 500 or 600 people - it was just fantastic.

“More than 90 people from Lyme Regis were killed and this commemorative event really brought the facts about WW1 home to everyone.”

People were given the chance to sponsor a candle, write a message on a candle card and watch it float silently down the River Lym from the ford to Jordan Flats.

This was then followed by the cry at the Marine Parade Shelters next to a circle of candles.

Town Mayor, Sally Holman, was among those to light a candle in honour of the men and women who served in the Great War.

Lights turned off at 11pm

BURTON BRADSTOCK: In Burton Bradstock the bells were rung half muffled on Monday evening with lights that were timed to turn off at 11pm.

There was also a two-day exhibition in the village of war memorabilia researched and put together by Sue Moores.