Service of commemoration to mark 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War

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A national service of commemoration is being held in the Isle of Man to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.

It will take place during the afternoon of Sunday, August 3, at St George’s Church in Douglas.

Prayers and readings will be given by Bishop Robert Paterson, Archdeacon Andrew Brown, Canon Philip Gillespie, Reverend Richard Hall, Chief Minister Allan Bell MHK, President of Tynwald Clare Christian and Speaker of the House of Keys Steve Rodan MHK.

The service will be attended by invited guests, including representatives from organisations with a specific interest in First World War events, as well as being open to members of the public.

The Great War had a dramatic impact on the Isle of Man, not just in the considerable number of lives lost, but also in the profound economic, social and political upheaval experienced.

Official records show that 8,261 men enlisted in the armed forces, which was 82.3 per cent of the Isle of Man’s male population of military age. Of these, 1,165 gave their lives and 987 were wounded.

Tourism stopped, ships and crews were commandeered for service and island life was disrupted by men volunteering to fight and women moving away to work in munitions factories. The Isle of Man was also the location for internment camps for 25,000 enemy aliens.

The national service of commemoration, which will start at 3pm, will be a focal point of community efforts to mark the 100th anniversaries of key events during the period from 2014 to 2018.

In Onchan on the same day there will be a family service will be held at St Peter’s Church, at 11am.

The winning entries of the children’s First World War poetry competition will be read out.

At noon there will be a procession, led by Onchan Silver Band, that will leave St Peter’s Church and head to the Onchan War Memorial where a short service of re-dedication will take place.

The next day (August 4) there will be a Lights Out – One Million Candles to Remember event at 10pm.

The British Legion is organising a candlelit vigil at Onchan’s War Memorial hen candles will be lit.

Last week the Royal British Legion said there would be no Lights Out event in the island.

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