Centenary of the end of The Great War Remembrance Vigil in northern France

Written by on October 29, 2018 in News

France honours the end of World War I with a remembrance vigil taking place on the night of 10 November to 11 November 2018.

Located on the front line from the end of 1914, the territory of Pays d’Artois was forever marked by those bloody battles. From the French offensives of 1915 to the great British battles of 1917, the territory today maintains many monuments, memorials and cemeteries with pride and reverence.

La Grande Veillée, The Great Vigil

In northern France on the night of 10-11 November, the date of the Armistice, a vigil will be held to remember that not all lived to hear the bells ringing to celebrate the end of the war 11 November 1918. The aim is to remember those men and women who came to France from all over the world and who were destined not to see the sun rise. The intention of the vigil is to bring them into the light, in order to mark the depth of French gratitude and the intensity of remembrance in northern France.

From 5.15pm on 10 November 2018, 274 remembrance sites located within the four communities of the Pays d’Artois will be lit up with candles (to mark the intensity of remembrance) and luminous balloons (to make the depth of gratitude).

Events across the north of France to mark the end of the Great War

22,000 lanterns will be lit at 270 cemeteries across 220 municipalities of the Pays d’Artois. The list of cemeteries participating in The Great Vigil and the programme for vigils organised by individual municipalities are available on website dedicated to The Great Vigil: www.lagrandeveillee.com. There will be at least 20 candles per remembrance site. Schools, associations, school and locals have organised events across the territory: light processions, candlelight parades, readings of eye-witness accounts, singing, concerts, walks, vigils and more…

French Premiere of They Shall Not Grow Old in Arras

In Arras, the French première of They Shall Not Grow Old, directed by Peter Jackson will be shown. Lending his support to The Great Vigil, Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings), has proposed the screening of his documentary film, They Shall Not Grow Old. He and his team have restored and colourised period sequences, using ultra-modern technology, and have added voices, bringing the soldiers back to life in unforgettable fashion.

French grand première and only screening in 2018: 9 November 2018, at 6.30pm at the Arras Casino

Admission: full price: €7, screening in the original version, not subtitled, proceeds will support the Great Vigil operation. Book tickets from the Arras Tourist Office website.

The Great Vigil programme

Faubourg d’Amiens Cemetery and Arras Memorial:

  • 5.15pm: opening ceremony of The Great Vigil attended by elected officials and representatives of the combatant nations, at sundown, with the participation of mezzo-soprano, Emma Brown. At the closing of the event, La Valse de la Sensée for string trio composed by Omar Yagoubi and performed by par Gautier Dooghe, violin (concertmaster of the Douai Symphony Orchestra), Joyce Lammelin, alto and Clément Vandamme, cello.
  • 3 luminous balloons
  • 2,688 headstones illuminated by members of the public
  • From 5.15pm to 8.00pm, organised events throughout the evening in the galleries of the Arras Memorial, including a bagpipe performance, period songs, readings of letters written by British soldiers commemorated on the memorial, presence of guides, screening and a micro-concert.

German War Cemetery at La Maison Blanche in Neuville-Saint- Vaast

  • Installation of three luminous balloons
  • 650 candles will be lit • Five luminous halos, with the presence of interpreters who will present the site

La Targette French National Cemetery and La Targette British Cemetery

  • Three light balloons at La Targette French National Cemetery
  • 650 candles will be lit at La Targette French National Cemetery
  • Illumination by members of the public of the 638 graves at the British Cemetery
  • Vigil, with a roll call of the soldiers buried at the British Cemetery
  • Soup bar

Find details of all the events at www.lagrandeveillee.com

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