World War 1 Remembered
World War 1 remembered yesterday at events around Cornwall. I spent time at County Hall, in the morning, then joined local people at the British Legion, St Just, in the evening for the “lights out” event.
The aim of the Royal British Legion (RBL) campaign, is based on the words of Sir Edward Grey about “lamps going out all over Europe” on the eve of Britain officially entering the First World War. Hopefully the goal of 100 million people lighting candles across the UK for an hour, to remember each and every one of the service men and women who gave their lives was achieved.
At County Hall a plaque containing the words of a Resolution of Cornwall County Council dated 29 July 1919 giving thanks for the ending of the war and commemorating those who died for their county, was rededicated.
195 sets of Cornish brothers were killed during the conflict, along with 10 sets of Cornish fathers and sons – with 13 Cornishmen killed in action at sea just 32 hours after war was declared. 14 ships with Cornish crews were also lost, including the crew of HMS Amphion which struck a German mine in the early hours of 6 August while defending the eastern approaches to the English channel. Despite the valiant efforts of the captain to stop the engines, the ship was destroyed, killing 150 British sailors, 13 of whom were from Cornwall.
It was a moving event, at County Hall, with the names of the 13 Cornishman killed when their ship sank within 32 hours of war being declared. There was an audible ‘gasp’ as the details of a 17 year old was read out. A lone piper, Dave from Botallack played, somehow made for such an occasion.
In the evening I joined many others at our own British Legion. Bad weather altered plans so people lit their candles to loved ones and made tributes to those who gave their lives, in the club. For the 2nd time that day I heard the words that those volunteering did so in the belief this would be the war to end all wars and thought how sad it did not happen for them and 100 years on we do not even seem able to manage that now! Many of us did walk, in the heavy rain, to the war memorial for a brief time of reflection. After all, those who fought in the war we were there to think about suffered far more than getting a bit wet.