Veterans, church leaders, politicians and local residents gathered at Mossley Mill on Monday, August 4 for a special remembrance service to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Britain entering the First World War.
The event, organised by Newtownabbey Borough Council and local branches of the Royal British Legion, took place beside the replica WW1 trench at the back of the mill site.
More than 100 people gathered on the Newtownabbey Way shortly before 10pm for a candlelit vigil as part of the UK-wide Lights Out commemoration, which was inspired by the words of wartime Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey, who said on the eve of WW1: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”
Bible readings and prayers were led by the Mayor’s chaplain, Rev Campbell Dixon, along with Fr John Forsythe, Mark Johnston and Rev Billy Davison.
The service was also addressed by Royal British Legion representatives Billy Snoddy and Ivan Hunter, who read out the names of the first Irishmen to die in the 1914-18 conflict.
The playing of the Last Post was followed by two minutes silence as all those gathered bowed their heads in a shared moment of reflection.
The event concluded with a lone piper playing a lament as people tossed poppies in to the trench in tribute to those who gave their lives in the service of King and country.
The Mayor, Alderman Thomas Hogg commented: “The conflict between 1914 and 1918, which became known as the Great War, left 17 million soldiers and civilians dead. Such a loss impacted communities and families right across the world. It is important therefore to mark an anniversary such as this one and come together for a moment of reflection.”
As part of the evening of commemoration, lights were switched off at all council buildings between 10pm and 11pm, and at Mossley Mill a single beam of light was projected into the night sky. Candles were lit at the war memorials in Whiteabbey, Ballynure, Glengormley, Ballyclare and Ypres Park.
Across the borough, many householders also took part in the tribute, leaving only a single light or candle lit in memory of those who gave their lives in the Great War.