Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Candlelit WWI Vigils in Christ Church and Winsley

On Monday evening 4th August candlelit vigils were held at both Christ Church and Winsley to mark the actual declaration of war - now known as World War I.

At Christ Church, the church was lit with candles at the beginning of the hour's vigil; these were gradually extinguished during the vigil. At 10.45pm there was a short period of prayer before the final candles were extinguished at 11pm. At Winsley there was a candlelit vigil at the War Memorial in Winsley which ended with the extinguishing of the candles at 11pm.

Photos of the Winsley events from 1st to 4th August can be seen on the Winsley Community website.

While the focus tends to be on military personnel, the effect of the conflict on civilian popluations should not be underestimated. During World War I, there were 8.5 million deaths of military personnel, and a further 13 million civilian deaths (totalling 21.5 million deaths) [BBC News report 4.8.2014]. It is estimated that 7 million military personnel were permanently disabled, and 15 million were seriously injured. Of the civilian deaths, 2 million are thought to have died of disease, and 6 million went missing, presumed dead. After the occupation of Belgium, 200,000 refugees fled to Britain, where they resettled in London and found war jobs.

The conflict resulted in the downfall of the German, the Russian, the Austro-Hungarian and the Ottoman Empires. The maps of Europe and Southwest Asia were redrawn, with several independent nations restored or created.