Mayor to lead Kingston ceremony to mark First World War anniversary

A soldier’s diary from the front line and candles snuffed out one by one will be part of Kingston’s commemorations to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War.

On 4 August, 100 years since the outbreak of the war, the Worshipful the Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Ken Smith JP, will lead a civic ceremony as the borough joins communities across Britain to observe the anniversary.

The public event in Kingston’s Ancient Market Place from 12 noon until 1pm will be followed by a procession to All Saints Church. Eleven lit candles will be carried to the church, to be put out one every hour until 11pm as part of the Royal British Legion’s nationwide Lights Out campaign.

Reverend Jonathan Wilkes of All Saints Church will lead a service, with an address by the Bishop of Kingston, the Right Reverend Richard Cheetham. There will be a reading from the diary kept by Rifleman James Gordon Watson (12th County of London Regiment, Territorials) too.

Music will be performed by Hannah Kirk, soprano and Artistic Director for Opera d’Amici, with baritone Mark Oldfield and pianist Peter Bailey.

The Mayor said:

“Communities everywhere will come together to commemorate and remember those who lived through, fought and died in the First World War.

“The centenary of the First World War should be a reminder to us all about the reality of war. Never before had our county seen such carnage. Across the country thousands of memorials were built, the nation was in shock.

“This event is an opportunity for the Royal Borough to reflect and to pay our respects to the fallen and to all those who grieved at that time. Everyone is welcome to join our commemoration.”

Kingston’s First World War commemorations include Kingston Museum’s exhibition 1914: Remembering Kingston at war which runs until 16 August and the Rose Theatre’s audio-visual exhibition Galsworthy and Human Battles on the Home Front.

For more information about Kingston's commemorations see First World War commemorations.

For more information about the Lights Out campaign go to

WW1 centenary plaque at New Malden War Memorial

The Mayor will attend a ceremony to unveil a WW1 centenary plaque at the New Malden War Memorial, High Street, at 11am on Sunday 27 July with the Royal British Legion Malden and Coombe and Colonel Geoffrey Godbold, Representative Deputy Lieutenant for the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames.