THORNBURY came together in a special remembrance service to mark the centenary of the start of Britain’s involvement in the First World War.
On Monday, August 4, at 6pm, a brief service was held at St Mary’s Church to remember the sacrifice the town made and to thank its residents who paid the ultimate price during the First World War.
The names of all the servicemen from Thornbury, who died fighting for the country in the First World War, were read out before prayers were said.
Many of the town’s residents attended the service held in the evening, led by the Rev Dr Jan van der Lely,
The Mayor of Thornbury, Guy Rawlinson, a churchwarden and members of the Thornbury branch of the Royal BritishLegion read out the names from the memorial, followed by prayers for peace in the world.
White and pink flowers and sprigs of rosemary were then laid on the memorial outside the church.
Mrs van der Lely said: “The events around the commemoration are powerful ways of bringing the community together with a sense of shared history, grieving with those who lost loved ones, lamenting the terrible waste of life in war, and joining in resolve to work for peace in the future.
“Those who gathered on Monday evening were not all regular church goers, there were other members of the town; and in fact a family spoke to me afterwards who were visiting Thornbury, and joined us as they could not go to their own local service.
“They much appreciated the chance to share in a corporate act of commemoration and prayer on the centenary.
She added: “I hope that many more people than usual will come to the War Memorial on Remembrance Sunday, 9th November, to witness the annual laying of wreaths there, during this significant year of commemoration.”
On Sunday, August 3, the Stafford Chapel, which forms part of the church, was turned into a place for reflection and prayer to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.
A large collection of artefacts from the war was also put on display inside the Stafford Chapel at the church all day, after kindly being lent to the church by Edward Hervey of the Royal British Legion, Thornbury branch - it included items from guns and shrapnel to postcards and medals all from the First World War.
A 78-year-old lady who was at the Monday memorial and did not wish to be named said that: “It’s important that we remember the wars, too many people died and we have to learn lessons from them so that these mistakes are never repeated.”
Margaret Sweet, who lives in Dursley, said: "It was nice to be here, we need to remember what happened in the wars"
Visitors to the church were also able to read some poetry from the period and light a candle in memory of the fallen.
Later in the evening the Thornbury Air Cadets and Sea Cadets came to the church with their padres, Mrs van der Lely and the Rev Tom Keates, one of the church's curates, to see the artefacts and to hear about some of the Thornbury men who died in the Great War.
A service was also held at St John’s Church in Charfield where residents gathered to remember the moment when the UK joined the war at 11pm in 1914.