On Monday there were further announcements about the official plans for centenary commemorations including the government website where all official details will be posted. Most prominent among the newly announced information was additional detail on a service for Commonwealth Heads of Government in Glasgow Cathedral on 4 August 2014, since they will be in Glasgow for the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games the previous day; and also a candlelit vigil in Westminster Abbey finishing at 11pm, the moment the British declaration of war came into effect.
During the vigil the candles will gradually be extinguished, until the last is blown out at 11pm, based on the Foreign Secretary, Lord Grey’s, remark in 1914 “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our time”. (There is a subtle flaw in the plan as currently stated, British Summer Time was only introduced in 1916, so the service really needs to end at 11pm GMT, ie midnight BST). The hope has been expressed that churches around the country (and indeed the world, it was the whole British Empire that declared war at this time) will hold their own vigils at the same time.
There is an obvious analogue as to how ringing could join the vigil. Begin by ringing rounds on all the tower’s bells, and occasionally stand one of the bells, starting from the treble, until the tenor is tolling. Stand the tenor at 11pm.
Having been away for several days, I aim to resume publishing the stories of individual ringers named on the roll shortly.