SOLDIERS from Lancashire who never came home from the First World War have been remembered at Blackburn Cathedral.
A service to commemorate the outbreak of war 100 years ago was held yesterday, when a memorial honouring the 72 soldiers from the town who died during the conflict was re-dedicated.
The memorial was dismantled in 1965 when the cathedral was undergoing internal changes, and only four bronze panels bearing the names of the fallen and five wooden carvings of angels survived.
But to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the war it has been restored by Blackburn firm Cooper Bespoke Joinery and was back in the cathedral for the service.
Scott Cooper was tasked with restoring the memorial with carver Christopher Blackledge.
All they had to go on was an old cutting from the Northern Telegraph newspaper, which became the Lancashire Telegraph, and the remaining parts of the memorial.
He said: “It was an honour to work on this project. It was a lot of hard work, we didn’t have much to go on. We only finished drying some of the memorial the night before the service, so it was really touch and go.
“Christopher did an incredible job with the carving. To see it in the cathedral is a very proud moment.”
During the service Lieutenant Colonel Antony Royce, Commanding Officer of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, read from the Old Testament.
A delegation from the German Lutheran Cathedral of Braunschweig were also present.
Dompredigerin Cornelia Gotz, Dean of Braunschweig, said: “For me it is a special moment in my life to be here. To be able to remember together is a great moment and to sing your national anthem was fantastic.
“On Friday, the Dean will come to Braunschweig for a service. It is very special to be able to do these things together.”
During his sermon, the Bishop of Blackburn Julian Henderson called on the congregation to remember the ‘courage’ and ‘bravery’ of those who served 100 years ago.
He said: “There are important lessons we can learn from our forebears. It is with appreciation and respect that we remember those who served our country between 1914 and 1918.”
The Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Lord Shuttleworth, also read from the Letter to the Romans from the New Testament.
The Dean of Blackburn, the Very Reverend Christopher Armstrong, told the congregation: “We gather to remember the outbreak of the First World War 100 years ago and the effect it was to have on a generation of the youth of Europe and beyond.
“We remember courage, valour and discipline; we remember, too, the emotions of communities and families at stations and ports as fond farewells were made.”
During the service Area Deans collected candles which will be placed in each parish of the church throughout the diocese today, where they will be lit until 11pm, the time war was declared a century ago.
The event was just one of more than a dozen events taking place across East Lancashire to mark today’s centenary of the outbreak of the Great War.
Of the nine million men and women who served with the British Armed Forces during the conflict around one million were killed and almost every community was affected.
Of those who did survive, many were badly injured and faced the almost impossible task of returning to everyday life.
Many were unable to work because of their injuries and struggled to support their families.