Today marks a century since Britain entered World War I. In the four years that followed, 56 million people fought in battles across the globe and 8.5 million troops are thought to have died.
The anniversary is being marked with a series of events held in London and across the rest of the UK today, from the release of a set of commemoratory stamps to poppies being planted across west London by Hillingdon Council.
1. The Tower of London’s art installation
From now until Remembrance Day on November 11, the Tower of London‘s moat is going to be filled with more than 800,000 ceramic poppies as part of an art installation called ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’. The poppies are available to buy for £25, with the proceeds going to selected Service charities.
2. St James’s Park exhibition
The Royal British Legion has funded a free exhibition called ‘Fields of Battle Lands of Peace 14-18‘, which will be on display in St James’s Park until November 11. It features 60 images of landscapes from Flanders to Gallipoli.
3. The veteran parade
One hundred veterans paraded from the Royal Hospital Chelsea to the Imperial War Museum in 50 Edwardian cars today to pay tribute to soldiers who fell in WWI.
4. Memorial services tonight
Westminster Abbey’s holding a candlelit vigil at 10pm, which will be broadcast live on BBC2. There’s also a vigil being held at Southwark Cathedral. Meanwhile, at the Royal Albert Hall, archivists Liz Harper and Suzanne Keyte will be talking about the building’s role in World War I.
5. The ‘Lights Out’ campaign
If you haven’t had a chance to pay tribute to those who fought in the war today – and would like to – then take part in the #LightsOut campaign.
Inspired by Sir Edward Grey’s comment from the start of the war: ‘the lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time’, we’re being asked to turn off all the lights in our homes from 10pm to 11pm (other than one candle or light). Landmarks taking part include the Houses of Parliament, the Imperial War Museums and Tower Bridge.