Service to recall First World War anniversary in Beccles

St Michael's Church, Beccles.

St Michael's Church, Beccles. - Credit: Archant © 2005

On August 4 1914 people across Britain woke up to hear the shocking and surprising news that war had been declared with Germany.

Many were away on holiday as it was the Tuesday after a bank holiday weekend and, with no television and radio still in its infancy, it took quite a time for the news to reach people across the country.

As troops began to mobilise and travel across the Channel, most hoped that the reassurances given by politicians and military leaders - ‘the war will be over by Christmas’ - were true.

But of course the end was not to come until soldiers and civilians had endured four years of war. 16m people had died and 20m had been injured.

At many times over those four dreadful years it felt as if the prophetic words of Sir Edward Grey ‘The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime,’ were very true.

This year and for the next four years we are called to remember the events of the First World War, or the Great War. We remember the millions of young men who marched to war and the millions who did not return to their homes.

We remember the women and children who stayed at home and we look back over the past 100 years at the continuing failings of humankind that lead to war and conflict still today.

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On Sunday, August 3 at 3pm, you are invited to a special service for all ages at St Michael’s Church, Beccles.

Service organisations, youth uniformed organisations, community groups and all who want to remember the 1,700 young men from Beccles who went to war between 1914 and 1918 are invited to gather at St Michael’s, the place that many of them visited before they left and the place their families visited regularly to pray for their safety during the war years.

The service will involve Beccles people, younger and older, as well as the voices of men and women who lived through and served in the war.

If you would like to attend the service as a particular group or organisation please ring me to ensure you can sit together.

St Michael’s is also hosting an exhibition of pictures and stories from the Great War.

We need you to look through old photograph albums and other family archives and see what you can find.

If you have family photos and stories of those who served and those who stayed at home that we can copy for this please ring me on 01502 712317, Philip Filer on 01502 714788 or you can e-mail pictures and stories to

You can call into St Michael’s any day between 9am and 5pm to see how the exhibition is growing as new contributions are received.