Marking the Centenary of the First World War

This year in August, the city of London will be marking the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I. In honour of all of those who gave their lives during this long and bloody conflict there are a number of events taking place in London across the whole of the year, designed to bring the hardship and loss of those who lived through the experience to the forefront of our minds. Widely regarded as being one of the worst conflicts ever to have taken place in terms of the scale of the loss and suffering that those involved had to endure, and of course in respect of the incredible sixteen million or more lives that were lost on all sides. The British Government along with a number of other organisations such as the Imperial War Museum, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Heritage Lottery fund have created a number of cultural activities and events in order that we remember those involved in the dark days of the First World War.

Photo by S Pakhrin
Photo by S Pakhrin

Events in the City

The events that are scheduled to take place are designed to raise public awareness of all the many different aspects of the Great War and to honour those who died, both the civilian casualties of war as well as the members of the armed forces who perished. The events that are planned will highlight the memorable events of the Great War from the outbreak in through to Armistice Day, they will also happen in real time, meaning that the events that are planned will begin in 2014 and close in 2018, mirroring the time spent at war all those years ago. Not all of the events are exhibitions there will also be a number of live theatre productions, ballet performances and film screenings which tie into the theme of war and remembrance taking place in theatres and cinemas across the city.

Examples of Planned Events

Remembering D-Day at HMS Belfast: 2014 marks the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, and the event will be marked by a range of activities planned to take place at HMS Belfast.

National Portrait Gallery – Great War in Portraits: The works on display during this event reflect the lives of some of the people who were involved in the Great War, both at home and abroad. Images include film, photographic images as well as traditional painted media.

The Imperial War Museum – Truth and Memory: A retrospective exhibition focussing on the art that Britain produced during the Great War from works produced at home to those created in the field by the war artists.

National Maritime Museum – Forgotten Fighters: The First World War at Sea: Often overlooked when we remember those that gave their lives in defence of their country, this exhibition focuses on the maritime heroes that fought the war at sea.

The Royal Air Force Museum – Pilots of the Caribbean: A new exhibition designed to honour the men and women of African and Afro-Caribbean heritage that volunteered for service in the Royal Air Force.

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