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Swanton Morley-based soldiers remember First World War heroes at Sarajevo vigil

13:24 08 August 2014

A group of soldiers from The Light Dragoons took part in a vigil at the site of Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination in Sarajevo on Monday night. They gathered on the Latin bridge in the centre of the city to light candles and hold a short service to commemorate the start of the First World War. Photo: Submitted.

A group of soldiers from The Light Dragoons took part in a vigil at the site of Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination in Sarajevo on Monday night. They gathered on the Latin bridge in the centre of the city to light candles and hold a short service to commemorate the start of the First World War. Photo: Submitted.

Archant

A group of Swanton Morley-based soldiers took part in a poignant vigil at a site which acted as the catalyst for the outbreak of war.

The Light Dragoons soldiers gathered at the site of Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination in Sarajevo on Monday night to light candles and hold a short service to commemorate the start of the First World War.

The site of the service was especially poignant as the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand led to events that started the war in August 1914.

The soldiers, led by Lt George Rutherford-Jones are deployed to the Balkans for six months as the UK’s contribution to Operation Althea, the ongoing EU mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Light Dragoons, who were heavily deployed into the Balkans in the mid to late 90s in support of the UN and other peace-keeping missions, gathered in civilian clothing with a small crown of civilian onlookers joining in with the small service.

Capt Donald Paske, who was present at the service, said: “It was an incredibly humbling experience, not only to hold a service at the exact time the ultimatum was delivered to Germany 100 years ago, but to do it at the exact site where essentially it all began. Not many will be able to share such a fantastic opportunity.”

On June 28, 1914, Sarajevo found itself in the epicentre of world politics. Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb, assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This act triggered a chain of events of global magnitude. Europe’s empires were on collision course for decades, now a clash was inevitable. A month later the world was at war.

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