‘The lamps are going out all over Europe – we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.’
These immortal words were spoken by Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey on the eve of Britain’s entry into the Great War in August 1914.
Now, 100 years later, Dacorum’s civic buildings are joining hundreds of other community groups and churches in turning their lights out to mark the outbreak of the four-year conflict.
The lights will go out between 10pm and 11pm on Monday at Hemel Hempstead Civic Centre, Berkhamsted Civic Centre, and Victoria Hall in Tring as part of a nationwide event to mark the First World War centenary.
Just a single light will remain burning in the buildings, coinciding with events taking place across the country as part of the Royal British Legion’s aim to ‘create a unique national moment’.
Dacorum Borough Council leader Andrew Williams said: “We are proud to be able to share in this nationwide moment of reflection.
“I invite residents to join with us and hold their own ‘Lights Out’ and share in observing the moment that marks 100 years since the First World War was declared.”
Special candles for the solemn event can be bought from Marks & Spencer.
The Royal British Legion are organising a County Drumhead Service in Gadebridge Park at 3pm on August 3.
Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning said: “It is a great honour for us to host the county’s Word War I commemoration in Hemel Hempstead and I urge as many people as possible to attend this unique event.
“It is fitting that Gadebridge Park is the venue, as the park was a training camp for the Royal Field Artillery before they left for France.”