ONE hundred years ago this weekend, a global conflict that claimed the lives of 9,200 Bolton soldiers broke out.
Families up and down the UK and across the world were torn apart by one of the worst conflicts in history.
Lasting for four years and three months, World War One was responsible for the deaths of between 15 and 18 million people.
This weekend, Bolton will commemorate all those who served during the conflict.
A civic service will be held at Bolton Parish Church on Sunday at 6.30pm to start a weekend of events.
The following morning a memorial service will be held at 11am in Victoria Square.
A wreath will be laid at the war memorial, followed by the firing of maroons and a two-minute silence.
A candle-lit vigil will be held in the grounds of Bolton Parish Church at 10pm on Monday, August 4 — the exact anniversary of war breaking out — to complete the sequence of commemorative services.
Bolton Council leader Cllr Cliff Morris said: “This year marks a special and poignant anniversary for the start of the war and I encourage people to come along to the commem-oration events to remember. Many Boltonians joined up to serve in the armed forces during the conflict or supported the war effort at home. The services will be remembering what they went through.”
The Rt Rev Chris Edmondson, Bishop of Bolton, will be attending the Sunday evening service, where stories of people involved in World War One will be read.
The Bishop of Bolton said: “It is important that Bolton, as one of the major towns in the country, marks the centenary appropriately.
“It is really important that as many people as possible come, even people who do not normally go to church.”
He added: “It was supposed to be the war to end all wars.
“The sadness is that there has barely been a day of peace since.
“You only have to look at what is currently going on in the Middle East to see how important it is for all faiths to come together and pray for peace.”
The UK declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914, just over a month after the assass-ination of Austro-Hunga-rian heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, in Sarajevo by Serbian nationalists.
A ceasefire was called at 11am November 11, 1918 when the Germans agreed to an armistice after Allied troops had launched a number of successful offensives.
About 9,200 Bolton soldiers are believed to have died in the fighting.
Between 703,000 and 888,000 soldiers from across the UK are thought to have perished in the conflict.
The anniversary commemorations started with Armed Forces Week last month, with a flag raised above the town hall, and a display featuring the armed forces and cadets.
Bolton Library and Museum will be holding centenary events in the Bolton Lives Gallery at 11am, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm on August 4, while historian Charles Sandbach will deliver his talk, ‘Ordinary Heroes of the First World War’ in the library’s lecture theatre at 2pm.