On Saturday, 4th August, a specially commissioned Lamplight of Peace, commemorating the work of WW1 tunnelers and the millions of soldiers, sailors and merchant seamen that lost their lives during WW1 was lit during a ceremony at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, Westminster Abbey. Saturday marked the first day of the last 100 days before Remembrance Sunday on 11th November.
The Lamplight of Peace is part of Battle’s Over – A Nation’s Tribute, which Pageantmaster Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR has been planning for four years.
The focal point of the mounted Lamplight of Peace is an original Bonnetted Clanny (Meusler) Lamp that would have been used by miners in British coalfields and subsequently in the tunnels.
The four sides of the wooden base on which it stands displays strands from German and British barbed wire of the period, coal from the last major British coal mine, shards of trench post and soil from a WW1 trench near Ypres, ballast from the railway line where the Armistice was signed in Compiegne, France and a replica of a Victoria Cross.
Bruno Peek commented: “The tunnellers are some of the great unsung heroes of the Great War. They fought their war underground, constantly surrounded by darkness and danger as they dug explosive-packed tunnels beneath enemy lines. Their extraordinary bravery has largely been forgotten but I hope that this event will serve to shed some light in the work they undertook in unimaginable conditions.”
The lighting of the Lamplight of Peace at Westminster Abbey marked the beginning of the 100 day journey of the Lamp. It will spend 25 days each with the four military charities involved in Battle’s Over – A Nation’s Tribute: The Royal Naval Association, ourselves, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, RAF Benevolent Fund and the Merchant Navy Association.