Lancaster’s commemoration of the momentous events of World War I gets underway next weekend, coinciding with Armed Forces Week.
The date is also the 100th anniversary of the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, the final catalyst of that “war to end all wars”.
Lancaster Castle will host a large number of displays, talks and events, but other venues across the city will also be taking part.
On Monday, June 24, the Mayor of Lancaster will raise the flag at Lancaster Town Hall at 11am to begin Armed Forces Week, with a flag raising also being observed at Morecambe Town Hall at the same time.
The occasion will be poignant given Lancaster City Council formally signed the Armed Forces Covenant in March.
An exhibition - War! 1914 - opens at the Kings Own Regimental Museum in Market Square on Saturday June with free admission.
Next weekend, June 28 and 29, Lancaster Castle will be open to the public with displays of historic vehicles from the Military Vehicles Trust, and talks, tours and other attractions hosted by Lancaster Military Heritage Group (LMHG).
Tony Martin who has masterminded the event said: “Many owners have also built up collections of interesting equipment which is specifically relevant to their vehicle and much of this will be on display, too.”
The Maritime Museum is also featuring a special event with members of the crew of HMS Lancaster onshore to talk about the ship. Sea Cadets from Morecambe will also show off their equipment and talk about their activities.
Also on Saturday, national speaker and noted historian Allan Mallinson will be speaking in the Storey Institute at 7pm with the subject “That Lancaster on Lune May Stand Secure” and explaining “Why and how Britain went to war in 1914, and why it wasn’t over by Christmas”.
Lancaster University’s Streets of Mourning project will also be in the castle grounds over the weekend, and the Cadet Corps of Drums will play on Saturday morning with the High Society Jazz Band in the afternoon.
Several opportunities will exist to take the weight off your feet by listening to talks from the experts: Lt Col Johnny Lighton – CO of 4th Bn. Duke of Lancaster’s at 12.00, Lt O Bekier from HMS Lancaster at 2pm, both in the Castle, while at the Maritime Museum at 12pm there will be Ships of the name HMS Lancaster and at 2pm How to trace your WW1 Ancestors.
On Sunday, June 29 at 11.30am the Priory Church will mark the last days of peace in 1914. During the service the Ensign of HMS Lancaster will parade and the new Banner of Normandy Company ACF will be dedicated.