Remembering WWI fallen brings hundreds together in Cookstown

Members parading in the World War I commemoration in Cookstown
Members parading in the World War I commemoration in Cookstown

Over 500 members of Cookstown and Moneymore Orange Districts came together to remember all those who gave their lives on 100th anniversary of World War One.

The joint commemoration service, held at 6.30pm on Sunday, September 1, brought together 350 members of Cookstown Orange District and 150 members of Moneymore Orange District.

Cookstown brethren paraded from their Orange Hall behind Tamlaghmore Silver Band, whilst those from Moneymore marched behind Gortagilly Flute Band from Moneymore Road corner, both meeting in the centre of Cookstown at the same time for an evening of remembrance, song and worship.

Orange brethren from both Cookstown and Moneymore were joined by many spectators as Glen Espie, WDM of Cookstown’s brethren, welcomed all those gathered and spoke of the sacrifice made by those who never returned from the battlefields of the First World War.

The act of remembrance took the form of a religious service with Bro Rev Hugh Ross opening in prayer.

Tamlaghmore Silver Band led with the hymn O God our help in ages past, while Rev Alan Cross Minister of Lissan Parish Church read from scripture and gave a short address on Reflection of the Great War.

Grand Master Hugh Stewart, from Co Londonderry, gave the exhortation, “They shall grown not old as we that are left grow old, age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.

“At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.”

Bugler Chris Donnelly played the Last Post, followed by a minutes silence - then Reveille was played.

Wor. Bro Derek Anderson read The Kohima Epitaph: “When you go home tell them of us and say for your tomorrow we gave our today.”

And Bro Glen Espie and Bro Fred Cahoon later laid wreaths on behalf of both Orange Districts, followed by a rendition of the The Pipers Lament by Ian McCullough.

Tamlaghmore Silver Band played the hymn Abide With Me, and then Rev Hugh Ross closed with prayer and the benediction.

Bro Fred Cahoon District Master of Moneymore thanked everyone for their attendance, seconded by Bro James Emery County Grand Master of Co Tyrone.

The act of remembrance service ended with God Save the Queen, both orders then paraded back to their starting points, whilst the crowd dispersed.

World War I began on July 28, 1914, when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.

This seemingly small conflict spread rapidly and soon Germany, Russia, Britain and France were drawn in because of treaties obligating them to defend certain nations.

August 4, 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the day Britain entered WWI, declaring war on Germany.

Fighting continued until November 11, 1918 - also known as Armistice Day, when a ceasefire was agreed that proved to be the end of the war.

It is estimated that around 17 million soldiers and civilians were killed during WWI.