World War One commemorated in events across UK

Altar frontal at St Paul's Image copyright AFP
Image caption The restored altar frontal at St Paul's was made by 138 severely wounded WW1 soldiers

Services and events have been held across the country on the eve of the centenary of the UK's entry into World War One.

A commemoration service took place at St Paul's Cathedral in London, using an altar frontal made by injured soldiers.

Earlier, a commemoration service for cadets and serving soldiers was held at Manchester Cathedral after a parade of veterans and marching bands in Bury.

In Barnstaple there was a wreath-laying ceremony and helicopter fly-past.

The war was also commemorated in a service in the Isle of Man.

The island's government said more than 8,000 men from there had enlisted in the armed forces during WW1, which represented more than 80% of the Isle of Man's male population of military age.

Christmas Truce game

The centrepiece of the commemorations at St Paul's Cathedral was an altar frontal made by 138 wounded WW1 soldiers, which is being used for the first time in 70 years.

Relatives of some of the men who created it from the UK, Australia, Canada and South Africa were expected to attend the service.

The frontal, which has taken months to restore, will go on display at St Paul's for four years.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Matt Jansen (l) captained the British All-Stars in the re-enactment of the Christmas Truce match

In other events:

  • Professional football veterans re-enacted the Christmas Truce football match between British and German soldiers in No Man's Land. The match at Highclere Castle finished 1-1 between a British All-Stars team and Bayer 04 Leverkusen All-Stars
  • Gillingham in Dorset unveiled blue plaques to mark the sites of two hospitals and a temporary ward that residents set up for injured troops returning from the front line
  • A wreath was being flown from the UK's first operational military air base, Montrose Air Station in Scotland, to a war memorial in Amiens, France
  • A community-funded statue of a soldier awarded the Victoria Cross in WW1 was unveiled in Runcorn
  • Three restored church bells were due to ring together in Friesthorpe for the first time in 100 years to remember five brothers from Lincolnshire killed in the conflict.

Further events are due to be held around the country on Monday, which marks 100 years since Britain joined the conflict.

On Sunday, the French and German presidents commemorated the 100th anniversary of Germany's declaration of war on France.

Francois Hollande and his German counterpart, Joachim Gauck, made a joint tribute in Alsace to soldiers killed in the war.

The two leaders will meet again on Monday in the Belgian city of Liege, where heads of state from across Europe will mark the escalation of the war after Germany invaded Belgium.

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