Joint Liturgical Group 

of Great Britain


Commemorating the First World War


2014 marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. Commemorative events are planned at a national and local level over the next 5 years, 2014–2018. Churches are often asked to contribute to these events or may wish to mark them within their own congregations.

Within Government the centenary is the responsibility of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 6 key dates have been identified for UK commemoration:

  • Monday 4th August 2014 — the centenary of entry of the British Empire to the War
  • Saturday 25th April 2015 — the Gallipoli campaign
  • Tuesday 31st May/ Wednesday 1st June 2016 — the Battle of Jutland commemorating the war at sea
  • Friday 1st July 2016 — the Battle of the Somme
  • Monday 31st July 2017 — the start of the 3rd Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele)
  • Sunday 11th November 2018 — Armistice Day


The Scottish Commemorations Panel has recommended the following dates to be observed in Scotland.

  • August 2014: Outbreak of WWI. Among other commemorations, including a Commonwealth ceremony in Glasgow, a drum-head service will be held on the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle, replicating the church services staged on the front line that used neatly piled drums for impromptu altars.
  • 25 April 2015: Gallipoli: The allied naval and military operation to force the Dardanelles and so secure entry to the Black Sea and to the then capital of Turkey, Istanbul. The 52nd Lowland Division, including many Scottish battalions, took part in the later stages of the campaign.
  • 22 May 2015: The train crash at Quintinshill, near Gretna: the Leith-based 7th Battalion Royal Scots, Territorial Force were on their way to Liverpool for Gallipoli and lost 214 officers and men; 246 people, mainly soldiers, were injured.
  • 25 September 2015: Battle of Loos. Part of the first Allied offensive in Artois and Champagne. Half of all casualties were Scottish and five VCs were awarded to Scots, including an award to piper Daniel Laidlaw, who braved poison gas and gunfire to play his company forward.
  • 31 May 2016: Battle of Jutland. The only time that British and German dreadnought battleships came to blows. Both sides claimed victory – the Germans lost fewer ships and men but the British claimed victory as Germany never again seriously challenged British control of the North Sea during WWI.
  • 9 April 2017: Battle of Arras. A concentration of 44 Scottish battalions and seven Scottish-named Canadian battalions attacked on the first day in the largest concentration of Scots to have fought together during the war. One-third of the 159,000 British Expeditionary Force casualties were Scottish.
  • 11 November 2018: Armistice Day and celebration of peace.
  • 1 January 1919:Loss of HMY Iolaire. The Iolaire was carrying many naval personnel returning home to Lewis from the Kyle of Lochalsh when she struck rocks half a mile from Stornoway with the loss of 204 of the 285 men aboard.


The Welsh Government has set up a website Wales Remembers to coordinate information. The following dates have been identified:

  • 4 August 2014: Britain declares war on Germany following its invasion of Belgium. This will be commemorated by a Commonwealth Service at Glasgow Cathedral. Members of the public will be invited to participate in a candlelit vigil in the evening, extinguishing the candles at 11pm symbolising the lights going out all over Europe.
  • August 2014: Unveiling of the memorial at Langemark, Flanders to all Welsh people who served during the First World War.
  • October 2014: Centenary of the Battle of Gheluvelt, which included engagement by the South Wales Borderers.
  • 9 August 2015: 53rd (Welsh) Division land at Gallipoli.
  • 31 May 2016: Welsh sailors take part in the Battle of Jutland.
  • 1‐14 July 2016: First Battle of the Somme including the engagement by the 38th (Welsh) Division at Mametz Wood.
  • 31 July 2017: Battle of Passchendaele including the engagement by the 38th (Welsh) Division at Pilckem Ridge where Hedd Wyn is killed.
  • 11 November 2018: Armistice Day when the Allied forces and Germany sign the Armistice at Compiègne ending the fighting at 11am.

Other Resources

JLG Resources

The Joint Liturgical Group in conjunction with CTBI has produced the following resources which may contain appropriate material

Beyond our Tears
Resources for Times of Remembrance
Now also available as a free downloadable resources from CTBI
Remembrance Sunday
An Order of Service for Remembrance Sunday
Out of the Depths
Resources to help churches respond to occasions of public grief

Church of England

Liturgical Resources
The Church of England Liturgical Commission has produced a set of Liturgical Resources for use at services commemorating the anniversary of World War One.

Bible Society

Hear My Cry
Words for when there are no words. The Bible Society has produced an illustrated collection of psalms, poems and personal stories to aid reflection about the War. Adaptable to different circumstances, Hear My Cry also contains hymns and prayers and will be suitable for religious and civic ceremonies as well as for individual, personal use.

Churches Together in Britain and Ireland

Church resources
CTBI has gathered together links to theological material from different churches.

An Anthology of Prayers

for use during the Commemoration of the First World War 2014–2018

The texts available in the following formats to enable ease of use.

AWW1-Prayers4 landscape (pdf)
A4 – Word (doc)


O God,
whose will it is to fold both earth and heaven in a single peace;
let the design of your great love
redeem all our anger and sorrow;
and give peace to your people,
peace among nations,
peace in our homes,
and peace in our hearts;
through your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Memorials upon Several Occasions, Eric Milner-White, 1933


Remember, O Lord,
the souls of those who have gone before us,
both those who are remembered
and those who are forgotten.
Grant them rest in the joy of Paradise,
where all pain and grief have fled away,
where the glory of your face shines for ever
and where without shame or sin
we rest together in your peace;
through your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Liturgy of St John Chrysostom


Father of all,
look with your divine pity on the pain of all humanity,
and grant that the passion and infinite love of your Son
may make fruitful for good, the trials of the innocent,
the endurance of all who suffer and the sorrow of all who grieve;
through the one who suffered in our flesh and died for our sake,
our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

A Prayer from France, 1915


O Lord our God, we give you thanks and praise
for those who not counting their lives dear to themselves,
laid them down for their friends;
and we pray,
that having their faithfulness always in remembrance,
we may with them overcome all things
and receive the crown of life
which have you promised;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

F E Brightman, Alcuin Club


Eternal Father,
from whom every family in heaven and earth is named,
and who sent your Son to seek and save the lost;
in hope of your everlasting mercy
we pray for every soul you have redeemed,
that all may be gathered home to you at the last,
one unbroken family;
the lost found, the rebellious reconciled,
the captive released, and the outcast made welcome;
through the eternal sacrifice and endless intercession of Jesus Christ,
our Saviour and our High Priest for ever. Amen.

W E Orchard, Divine Service 1919


Lord, make us instruments of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that we may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

This ‘Peace Prayer’ was originally written in French and first published in the Catholic magazine La Clochette in 1912. It was subsequently promoted by Pope Benedict XV as a Peace Prayer on the front page of L’Osservatore Romano in January 1916. The prayer was published in English in 1927 in the American Quaker magazine Friends’ Intelligencer (Philadelphia), by which time it was romantically attributed to St. Fran-cis of Assisi. Cardinal Spellman and Senator Hawkes distributed millions of copies of the prayer during and just after World War II. The prayer appeared in Britain on an SPCK Prayer Card in 1936 where it was also attributed to St. Francis.


Guide, O Lord,
all who command our armed forces
that they may have wisdom to discern
that which is noble and true,
courage to choose that which is necessary and right
and determination to pursue
that which leads to justice and peace;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

A S T Fisher, An Anthology of Prayers, 1934


Almighty God,
from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed;
kindle, we pray, in the hearts of all
the true love of peace,
and guide with your pure and peaceable wisdom
those who take counsel for the nations of the earth,
that in tranquillity your kingdom may go forward,
till the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Bishop Francis Paget, 1851-1911


Almighty and everlasting God,
the comfort of the sad, the strength of those who suffer:
hear the prayers of your children who cry out of any trouble,
and to every distressed soul
grant mercy, relief and refreshment,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Gelasian Sacramentary, Good Friday General Intercession and Liturgy of St Mark


Eternal God,
in whose hands are both the living and the dead:
we give you thanks for all who have laid down their lives
in the service of their country.
Grant to them your mercy and the light of your presence,
that the good work that you have begun in them
may be brought to perfection;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.

American Book of Common Prayer


Gracious God,
as we recall those whose lives are remembered with glory and honour
we remember those for whom there is no memorial,
who have perished as though they had never existed
and who have become as though they had never been born.
May their faithfulness be upheld in our memory
even as they dwell securely within the covenant of your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Joint Liturgical Group based on Ecclesiasticus 44.8-15


We remember before you with gratitude, O Lord,
all who have died that we might live,
all who have endured pain that we might know joy,
all who have suffered imprisonment that we might know freedom.
As others have died for peace may we live for peace,
for the sake of the Prince of Peace,
even Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Leslie D Weatherhead, A Private House of Prayer, 1958



JLG Day Conference
— March 2019