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Mayor extends public invitation for ‘Battle’s Over’ tribute marking end of First World War

07 November 2018

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr John Boyle has extended an invitation to the public across the Council area to attend a series of events that are taking place at the Guildhall this Sunday, 11 November 2018 to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

The international commemoration of the centenary of the end of World War I – entitled ‘Battle’s Over’ – will see a unique series of events taking place throughout the UK and countries around the world in remembrance of the millions of men and women who gave their lives or returned home wounded after ‘The Great War’ (1914-18).

The events being organised are part of a Mayor’s Initiative that is being delivered in partnership with the Council’s Museum and Visitor Services and will include a lunchtime lecture and talk, an exhibition, an interdenominational service at 6pm and the lighting of two beacons, one in Guildhall Square and the other in the Diamond, Castlederg.

Events will begin at 6am on 11 November with lone pipers playing ‘Battle’s O’er’ – a traditional air played after a battle at a number of venues including the Diamond, St Columb’s Cathedral, Eglinton Village, the Fountain Estate, outside Glendermott Parish Church, Altnagelvin, at the Waterside end of the Peace Bridge, outside All Saints Church Clooney, Limavady Road (close to Foyle College), Newbuildings and Kilfennan as well as a number of other rural venues in Tyrone that have yet to be confirmed.

The commemorative event will also include a lunchtime talk on the First World War by local historian Seamus Breslin as well as a temporary exhibition in the Guildhall depicting some elements of the current Creative Centenaries #MakingHistory 1918 Exhibition that is on show at the Tower Museum until the end of March next year.

Encouraging the public to be part of this important commemoration, Mayor Boyle, whose grandfather fought and survived the trenches said: “I think that it is appropriate to host this unique series of events to remember and honour those who died or were wounded during the dark days of the First World War. This event forms part of the Council’s ‘Decade of Centenaries’ commemorations. It is important to reflect on the tragedy that befell so many young men and women and the families from this island at that time. They came from all walks of life and from every religious and political persuasion.

“I often think of my own grandfather, Jack Rutherford, who was just a boy of 16 years of age in 1914 when he volunteered to go to war. One year later in the autumn of 1915, he was in the trenches of the Western Front and ultimately was part of, and witness to, the tragedy and brutality of the first day of the Somme offensive on the 1st July 1916. He lost many good friends that day and on subsequent days. Of his company of 250 men of all ranks only 21 survived the first day of the Somme unscathed. Like so many Irishmen, Nationalist and Unionist, his was only one story. I think that it will be fitting that we remember our fellow countrymen and people of all nations.”

Mayor Boyle added: “People can disagree with wars and the strategies and the purposes of war, but we should also recognise the circumstances and the conditions, the motives and the lack of choices of those who were put on the front line and in harm’s way in wars. That is what we will be remembering on 11 November. Indeed, it’s appropriate that we now have the circumstances in which people can feel free to do that.”

Curator with the Tower Museum, Roisin Doherty said the Museum Service is delighted to be working with the Mayor to deliver this important commemorative event. She said: “I am delighted that we will be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War with events taking place throughout the City and District. The Mayor will then host a number of events in the evening – including a short Interdenominational Service in the Guildhall followed by the lighting of a beacon and the ringing of bells to celebrate the end of The Great War to include the symbolic ‘Cry for Peace Around the World’ event. Those attending the commemorative events will be invited to attend refreshments after the ceremony and there will also be a presence from Council’s Museum Service throughout the evening to talk about the exhibition of artefacts they will have on display from World War I.”

Encouraging the public to come along and be part of the commemorations, Mayor Boyle added: “The Battle is Over event is open to everyone who wants to take part in this historic tribute to remember the sacrifices made by so many men and women from our City & District and further afield.”

Those interested in attending the interdenominational service at 6pm are encouraged to register in advance with the Mayor’s office to assist with catering arrangements. They can email [email protected] or tel. 028 71 376508.

A series of events are taking place across the Council area, most of which are being co-ordinated by the Royal British Legion. Local churches are also organising events to commemorative the anniversary including the Parish of Glendermott and Newbuildings who are organising an exhibition in Glendermott Parish Church from 8-11 November.

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