First World War Centenary Events

Events will be taking place across the country in 2016 as part of the four year National Commemoration of the First World War. I have set out below are some of the events people can attend to commemorate and remember those who have died in the Great War.


Friday 1 July 2016 marks the 100 anniversary of the first day of the Somme offensive, a battle which carries special resonance in the UK. There will be a national event at Lutyen’s great Memorial to the Missing at Thiepval on the Somme. Additionally, there will be overnight vigils on Thursday 30 June with a national vigil at Westminster Abbey starting with a service attended by Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip. There will also be vigils at Theipval, in Scotland, at the National War Memorial in Edinburgh Castle, in Wales, at the National War Memorial in Cardiff, and in Northern Ireland, at Helen’s Tower in County Down.


A national service will be held at Manchester Cathedral, and an educational and cultural event in the city’s Heaton Park.


The Royal British Legion will host a daily service of commemoration at the Thiepval Memorial from Saturday 2 July 2016 to Friday 18 November 2016, marking the 141 days of the Somme offensive, to provide opportunities for Regimental associations, communities and descendants to participate.


The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is supporting organisations and groups that plan to hold commemorative events at cemeteries and regimental memorials across the Somme battlefield.


The 14-18 NOW Culture Programme will be holding many free and participatory events with a focus around young people. More details are available at


The Heritage Lottery Fund has funding available for local communities to explore their own First World War heritage. Visit for more details. Funding is also available for the conservation, repair and protection of local war memorials from and Historic England


The Imperial War Museum led Centenary Partnership has over 3,000 not-for-profit organisations from 50 countries that are marking the First World War Centenary. National and local events are promoted on


A series of debates for senior school pupils, funded by LIBOR, examining the causes, conduct and consequences of the First World War will commence in the summer to mark the Somme.


The Battle of Jutland and the wider war at sea will be marked on Tuesday 31 May around Scapa Flow, at St Magnus Cathedral Kirkwall, and at Lyness Royal Navy Cemetery on Hoy, and with the German Navy on the Jutland bank. Public events will be held at Naval Memorials in Plymouth, Chatham and Portsmouth. HMS Caroline, Jutland’s last veteran, has been restored and will open permanently to visitors in Belfast on 31 May.