The 100th Anniversary of the First World War
The legacy of The First World War on Remembrance Sunday a century later...
The 11th of November is a significant day of history across the UK and the world. A century ago on this day was the end of The First World War, and each year in the lead-up to this event we buy and wear poppies as a sign of respect and support for The British Army, The Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.
The first World War saw 65 million men from 30 countries fight, 750,000 of these are thought to be British, and over 188,000 were from British colonies. Initially, the British Government asked for 100,000 volunteers to join the army, and almost eight times this number applied, with over 250,000 lying about their age to get selected.
WW1 brought millions of deaths, and hundreds of thousands of injuries… but it also allowed for advancements in medicine, technology, and language. Many of the medical interventions and pioneering techniques have hugely influenced the medical procedures we use today, and The First World War was also the first time an aircraft was used in battle. As for advancements in how we speak, ‘trench language’ gave us many of the modern slang words we use today such as ‘lousy’ and ‘crummy’. Just like the symbol of the poppy growing from a baron field signifies hope, the progression in medicine, technology and language likewise brings a sense of pride following the war.
The 11th November serendipitously falls on a Sunday this year, and there will be plenty parades and events near you, so make sure to check the What’s On section in the directory. You can find out more about Remembrance Day and on-going events via www.britishlegion.org.uk.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
An extract from John McCrae’s poem ‘In Flanders Field’