MEDALS placed in frames and mounted on a wall at Derek Wise’s home are reminders of the sacrifice of an earlier generation.
His father William and uncle Thomas both served in the Bradford Pals but uncle Tom never came back.
A century after Britain entered the war Mr Wise is urging everyone to get behind a Lights Out campaign to get a million people to light a candle or put on a single light on August 4, a century to the day Britain declared war on Germany.
Councils and Royal British Legion branches across Yorkshire and the country are preparing for a “shared moment of reflection” between 10pm and 11pm to mark the centenary.
Mr Wise, 78, from Normanton, has purchased several commemorative £4 candles from Marks & Spencer and intends to mark the occasion alone in quiet reflection.
His thoughts, he said, would mainly be with his uncle Tom, whom he never got the chance to meet because he was killed in action aged 22 in France.
Lance Sergeant Wise was a member of the 18th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’ Own) and hailed from Ripon.
He died on November 13 1916 – shortly after he had given evidence in a court martial involving two colleagues, Herbert Crimmins and Arthur Wild, who had wandered off before a battle and got drunk.
Despite pleas for mercy, the pair were shot.
Mr Wise, who is a former West Riding policeman and an ex-National Serviceman, will wear miniature medals awarded to his father and uncle Tom on the August 4 anniversary.
He has spent many years researching the war service of uncle Tom and has visited his grave in France on four occasions. Alas, he has been unable to find out much about his father’s war service as he never spoke about it and did not write anything down. It is believed he was hit by a bullet but never discussed it.
“I want to remember and lighting a candle is a good way of remembering. I will put candles in the window that night for an hour. I want to thank them for doing a wonderful job.
“I have got three commemorative candles and will light them and think of uncle Tom and my dad. Mainly, I will think of uncle Tom, the Bradford Pals and those that got killed.”
Mr Wise, who has been active in the Normanton branch of the Royal British Legion for many years, will be urging Legion colleagues to buy some candles as profits from sales will benefit the Legion.
He also wants schools and schoolchildren to consider marking the event in their own way.
“I would like everybody to light a candle to say thank you for giving us the freedom that we enjoy today. Many people will have had somebody killed in the First World War.”
TELL US HOW YOU WILL REMEMBER
The Yorkshire Evening Post is supporting the Lights Out campaign and we want to hear how you will be marking the August 4 anniversary.
Tell us why you are marking the occasion - and where - and let us know what happened to your family in the 1914-18 war.
Commemorative candles can be purchased for £4 from Marks & Spencer stores or from the company’s website, with profits going to The Royal British Legion.
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Events at www.1418NOW.org.uk/lightsout