Rye darkened on Monday night in memory of the dark age into which the world was plunged 100 years ago with the start of World War 1, a conflict in which a total of 16 million perished and 20 million were wounded. Lights in windows were switched off and some lit candles. People who did – and there were few who did in Rye’s citadel – were heeding the call of the British Legion to mark the centenary of Britain entering World War 1.
It was part of the national hour of reflection that began at 10pm, an hour of “Lights out”, an echo of the words in 1914 of Sir Edward Grey, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, who said on the eve of the nation officially entering the war: “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”
In Rye there was no official gathering to mark the occasion, an opportunity missed, some felt, to honour the 145 from the town who gave their lives in the Great War.
The roll calls elsewhere were: Beckley 22 dead, Camber 4, East Guldeford 5, Icklesham 11, Iden 9, Northiam 33 – seven of them from the hamlet of Mill Corner just outside the town – Peasmarsh 31, Pett 17, Rye Harbour 15 and Udimore 12.
For more detail, visit the roll of honour website which lists the names of many of the fallen. On our Opinions page, Charles Harkness, news editor of Rye News, wonders about the ways in which we celebrate war in an article under the headline: “How do we cope with history?”
Above right: candles burn in the windows of Rye homes, one in Church Square, the other in the High Street