RAF Marham World War I Commemorations

Personnel from across RAF Marham gathered outside Station Headquarters at 1145 on the 4th of August to mark the 100th anniversary of the day Britain entered one of the costliest conflicts in history, the First World War.

The event was an opportunity for people to join with others in this County of Norfolk, the United Kingdom and the wider Commonwealth to remember all who were caught up in the events of the First World War. In  particular people were encouraged to reflect on all who gave their lives in action, the bereaved, the lost, the families which were shattered and broken, the wounded and all who held in silence the unspeakable memories of war. At the conclusion of the commemoration the Station Commander spoke about the importance of this event in the life of the Station and encouraged personnel to leave one light on in recognition of Sir Edward Grey’s famous remark “that the lights are going out all over Europe”.

Later that evening, at 2200hrs, personnel gathered at St Margaret’s Church for a Vigil Service to ‘pause’ in penitence on the moments leading up to the outbreak of war. The service included music, pictures, silence, poetry and contemporary reflections from World War I. As people reflected on the effects of human frailty and failure candles were quietly extinguished until only one candle remained lit at 2300hrs to mark the moment of the declaration of war.

It was a sombre occasion and as someone remarked on their way out of church, the words from ‘The Messages’ by WW Gibson and read in church summed up the day…

“I cannot quite remember… There were five
Dropt dead beside me in the trench – and three
Whispered their dying messages to me…”

Back from the trenches, more dead than alive,
Stone-deaf and dazed, and with a broken knee,
He hobbled slowly, muttering vacantly:

“I cannot quite remember… There were five
Dropt dead beside me in the trench – and three
Whispered their dying messages to me…”

“Their friends are waiting, wondering how they thrive –
Waiting a word in silence patiently…
But what they said, or who their friends may be.

“I cannot quite remember… There were five
Dropt dead beside me in the trench – and three
Whispered their dying messages to me…”

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