1918 SPE­CIAL CENTENARY EDI­TION 2018

Who put Harry and Meghan in the cheap seats!

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Front Page - By Ian Gal­lagher

THE Great War is slip­ping beyond the fringes of liv­ing mem­ory, and its in­cal­cu­la­ble losses will never be rec­on­ciled.

Still our de­sire to hon­our the fallen, the glo­ri­ous dead, burns fierce. Now more than ever.

To­day, ex­actly a cen­tury since si­lence fell across the Western Front, when vil­lages, towns and cities erupted in noisy, spon­ta­neous re­lief, the coun­try will come to­gether to salute the sac­ri­fice of the First World War gen­er­a­tion.

There will be joy­ous ring­ing bells and the sober call of bu­gles. Bea­cons and torches light­ing all cor­ners of the land. Peo­ple will give thanks. In churches and cathe­drals, those gath­ered will re­mem­ber.

Still­ing the na­tion at 11am will be that great rec­tan­gle of Port­land stone in White­hall. The Ceno­taph has long given suc­cour to those whose hus­bands, sons, broth­ers, friends and re­la­tions died in the war with­out a known grave. To­day, the eyes of the world will be upon it.

They will also fall on Big Ben, silent since Au­gust last year due to ren­o­va­tion, but whose bell will sound 11 times at 11am, re­flect­ing the same day 100 years ago when it rang again af­ter four years.

Ma­jor cer­e­monies in Scot­land will in­clude a ser­vice at St Giles’ Cathe­dral in Ed­in­burgh this morn­ing, fol­lowed by World War One Re­mem­bered at Glas­gow Cathe­dral in the af­ter­noon, at­tended by the Princess Royal.

The act of commemoration be­gan yes­ter­day as:

The Queen, the Duke and Duchess of Cam­bridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sus­sex joined the an­nual Fes­ti­val of Re­mem­brance at the Royal Albert Hall in Lon­don;

More than 500 peo­ple at­tended a can­dlelit vigil at the Na­tional Me­mo­rial Arboretum in Staffordshire;

Prince Harry laid a wreath at Twick­en­ham be­fore Eng­land’s rugby match against New Zealand;

The lead­ers of for­mer en­e­mies France and Ger­many came to­gether at the site where the agree­ment that ended the war was signed.

When the na­tion falls silent to­day, Grace Jones, at 112 the old­est per­son in the coun­try, will re­flect not only on the pain the war wrought but also on the op­ti­mism of its end.

Yes­ter­day, she re­called the day 100 years ago when peace broke out. ‘There were peo­ple with Union Jacks, scream­ing and laugh­ing, and singing,’ she said. ‘My el­dest sis­ter took me down where the cars were – there were no cars where I lived – to see the peo­ple danc­ing all in the road and on the tram cars, the open ones, singing away. It was lovely.’

Few at the time were un­touched by grief. Grace, of Liver­pool, ex­pe­ri­enced har­row­ing loss and this morn­ing, as well as re­mem­ber­ing the Ar­mistice cel­e­bra­tions, she will bring to mind the brother she idolised, Tom, who died at Gal­lipoli.

‘He was a lovely brother, that was a very sad time,’ she said. ‘[My fa­ther] went up­stairs to his own room, I crept up af­ter him. He was just sit­ting there cry­ing. It was a big loss to him, his only son.’

On the eve of the com­mem­o­ra­tions, the Queen led se­nior Roy­als at the an­nual Fes­ti­val of Re­mem­brance, which in­cluded a per­for­mance from Sir Tom Jones.

Ear­lier Theresa May, who on Fri­day was in Bel­gium to hon­our those who died at the Somme, paid a per­sonal tribute to a rel­a­tive, say­ing: ‘I will think of Hu­bert Grant, my fa­ther’s cousin who fought and died at Pass­chen­daele at the age of just 19, but also the mil­lions of sac­ri­fices made for the se­cu­rity and peace of our con­ti­nent.’

Yes­ter­day was a day of unity. Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel and French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron came to­gether at the site 48 miles north of Paris where the Ar­mistice was signed.

Else­where, other world lead­ers paid their re­spects in France but one man was con­spic­u­ously ab­sent, and re­mained in his ho­tel room.

Donald Trump was al­ready in a bad mood when Air Force One landed in Paris on Fri­day night be­cause Mr Macron had up­set him, but then can­celled plans to visit an Amer­i­can ceme­tery due to bad weather – a move that prompted wide­spread dis­be­lief.

When the world’s at­ten­tion switches to Bri­tain to­day, one of the most poignant im­ages will be the sand trib­utes to the fallen, in­clud­ing the poet Wil­fred Owen, etched on to 32 beaches across Bri­tain and washed away as the tide comes in. ‘It’s a metaphor for life,’ said artist Jamie Ward­ley, who worked with film di­rec­tor Danny Boyle on the project.

‘It’s there and then it’s gone.’

PAY­ING THEIR RE­SPECTS: At the Albert Hall were, from left, the Duchess and Duke of Cam­bridge, Tim Lau­rence, Princess Anne, Prince Michael of Kent, the Queen, an un­known guest, the Duke of Kent, Prince Charles, Prince Edward and the Count­ess Of Wessex, the Duchess of Corn­wall, Prince Andrew, and the Duchess and Duke of Sus­sex. In the next box are Theresa and Philip May

TRIBUTE: Laura Kitchin, 6, at the Gar­den of Re­mem­brance in Ed­in­burgh’s Princes Street yes­ter­day

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