MORE than 150 people attended a candlelit service at St Mary's Church in Tutbury on Monday night to mark the centenary, with people heading from villages all around to take part in the commemoration.
The service, led by Reverend Ian Whitehead, began with the playing of the Last Post, the bugle call used within British infantry regiments.
Hymns were led by the choir, with John Sneyd providing scripture readings throughout the service.
War poetry by Wilfred Owen (1914), Isaac Rosenberg (On Receiving the News of War), Rose Macaulay (Many Sisters to Many Brothers) and W W Gibbon (The Messages) were read by chorister Shirley Newton, Jane Nuth, Janice Atterbury and Rosemary Tunstall, who is the verger at the church.
At four points during the service the lights were gradually dimmed, accompanied by periods of silent reflection.
At 11pm the only light remaining in the church was the candle in the Lady Chapel, where the war dead are commemorated.The congregation then left in silence.
On the other side of Burton, at the town's war memorial, people also gathered for a candlelit service.
East Staffordshir mayor Councillor Ron Clarke, Councillor Michael Rogers and former Burton MP Janet Dean were among around 50 people who gathered to light candles around the memorial, in Lichfield Street.
At 10.45pm, The Last Post was played and every candle but one was blown out.
The final candle was left burning through to 11pm, marking the exact time at which the British Empire joined the war, which had already been building in other parts of Europe.
Anne Compton, of The Royal British Legion, who organised the commemoration, said: "We wanted it to be quite informal. There was a lot of reflection. A lot of people had relatives that they lost in the war and it did bring a lot home to us, knowing that it was part of our families."