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Lights out as city remembers the fallen heroes of World War One

Sheffield Pals Battalion drilling at Bramall Lane

Sheffield Pals Battalion drilling at Bramall Lane

The lights went out all over Sheffield as the city came together to reflect on the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One.

Households, businesses and public buildings were illuminated with single candles or lights, remembering the fateful moment when Britain joined the conflict in August 1914.

A series of other events have also been taking place, from a special cathedral service to a commemoration at Bramall Lane stadium.

Meanwhile in Walkley, stained glass windows paying tribute to nine men who fought in World War One were rededicated with a ceremony.

A big congregation, ranging from children to elderly veterans, gathered at the cathedral on Sunday for a service to mark the centenary of the beginning of the war.

Cadets formed a guard of honours as families, friends, and former servicemen who have bravely served on the front line arrived.

As the service began, Bishop of Doncaster Peter Burrows said: “We are all connected to the war, either through our family history or because of the way it changed the history of our communities.”

Former Dean of Sheffield Rev Michael Sandgrove, now the Dean of Durham, led the sermon. A poem written by Sergeant John William Streets, who volunteered for the Sheffield City Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment, was also read. He was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

Over at Bramall Lane, club historian John Garrett has been remembering how the home of Sheffield United and Yorkshire county cricket was at the heart of events a century ago. The Sheffield Pals Battalion went through basic training at the ground before being sent up to the moors at Redmires where mock trenches had been dug.

Later the cricket pavilion was converted into a temporary hospital for the wounded sent back from the front.

“Young men were recruited during matches – there are some emotive pictures of enlistment campaigners in front of the Kop at half time in a Sheffield derby,” he said.

“There are also photos of recruits preparing to travel to their fates across the Channel by being put through drill at the stadium.”

John said the 1914-15 football season was completed as normal before being suspended for the duration, but the Blades did beat Chelsea 3-0 in the 1915 FA Cup final - making them the only club to win the trophy during a world war.

United’s own toll saw one of their best known players make the ultimate sacrifice – outside left Jimmy Revill was killed in France in 1917, leaving behind a family.

Elsewhere, at the Walkley ceremony, family of the men recalled in the stained glass windows at the Community Centre on Fir Street joined researchers who found out about their roles in the war.

Songs were performed and poems read, with Lord Mayor of Sheffield Peter Rippon and High Sheriff of South Yorkshire John Bramah also paying tribute.

Walkley History Society’s Julie Clarke said: “It’s so important to remember these men and what they sacrificed. We must never forget.”

The windows have been refurbished and re-etched.

See next week’s Telegraph for a feature on the stories uncovered by the Sheffield 1914 research group, who held a World War One day at Weston Park Museum inviting members of the public to bring along artefacts and share their tales.

 

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