The Society of Editors has supported the commissioning of a Lamplight of Peace which will be used to commemorate the end of the first world war.
The lamp, to be lit at a unique ceremony at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey, on August 4th, commemorates the work of WW1 tunnelers and the millions of soldiers, sailors and merchant seamen that lost their lives during the war. The date marks the first day of the last 100 days before Remembrance Sunday on 11th November.
The event is part of Battle’s Over – A Nation’s Tribute, which is being supported by the Society of Editors, to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War on 11th November 1918. The Society is encouraging editors up and down the country to get involved and help promote the commemorations.
The focal point of the mounted Lamplight of Peace is an original Bonnetted Clanny (Meusler) Lamp that would have been used by miners in British coalfields and subsequently in the tunnels.
The four sides of the wooden base on which it stands displays strands from German and British barbed wire of the period, coal from the last British major coal mine, shards of trench post and soil from a WW1 trench near Ypres, ballast from the railway line where the Armistice was signed in Compiegne, France and a replica of a Victoria Cross.
The lighting of the Lamplight of Peace at Westminster Abbey will mark the beginning of the 100 day journey of the Lamp. It will spend 25 days each with the four military charities involved in Battle’s Over – A Nation’s Tribute: The Royal Naval Association, ABF The Soldiers Charity, RAF Benevolent Fund and the Merchant Navy Association.
Air Vice-Marshal David Murray, Controller of the RAF Benovelent Fund, said: “All three services and the Merchant Navy made huge sacrifices during WW1 – as the Royal Air Force’s leading welfare charity, we are actually aware of the importance of this poignant tribute, and the need to commemorate such a seminal period in the history of our nation. With hope comes light and inspiration, but we must never forget the darkness of the days that have passed.
As we celebrate the centenary of the RAF and look towards our next 100th anniversary next year, we welcome the opportunity to remember and reflect.”
On completion of the lighting ceremony, the Lamp will be passed into the care of Warrant Officer Paul Jackson RN and the Chaplain of the Fleet – Rev Martin Gough QHC. The Lamplight will be taken to Portsmouth and will arrive by sea at the Historic Dockyard at 1100 on Sunday 5th August, where it will be initially received at the Jutland 100 Exhibition by the National Museum of the Royal Navy and then moved to be next to the 4 inch gun from HMS Lance, which fired the first shot of the war at sea; to be installed 104 years to the day since that fateful shot.