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Those who gathered in Bournemouth Gardens heard extracts from novel Birdsong, a poem by the town's poet laureate, James Manlow, a rendition of The Lark Ascending by Hannah Gobbett on the clarinet and a reading from the Quran by Majid Yasin, Imam and Director of the Bournemouth Islamic Centre.
Poem Strange Meeting by Wilfred Owen was also read, Roseanna Bowen sang Amazing Grace and Councillor John Adams performed The Skye Boat Song on the bagpipes.
Tonight, hundreds of people have gathered at war memorials across Dorset to remember those who fought in the conflict.
In Bournemouth, a crowd heard poetry, readings and music from 10pm until 11pm.
The memorial in Poole Park was illuminated for 45 minutes as part of an art installation, while in Christchurch, visitors gathered for a two-hour programme of music, poetry and art.
As though we had returned, flowers
were strewn beneath our marching feet.
It seemed the trees had bent their boughs
to rain their adulation on the street.
Red roses all the way through France,
the heart-red roses of last chance.
Did you know Bournemouth had a Poet Laureate, James Manlow? Here's his poem written specially for the civic service this morning. Read it in full here
But in stark contrast, one Poole family lost four sons.
The Brackstone brothers, from Parkstone, joined different regiments and were killed amid the carnage of the Western Front and the bloody Mesopotamian campaign.
The Still family from Bournemouth had seven sons, aged from 17 to 27, serving in the forces in 1915. All seven would survive the war.
With Chelsea Pensioners at the Great War Centenary Parade. Marking British entry to #WW1 100 years ago. http://t.co/rqtZJz3dIO— @TobiasEllwoodMP 04 August 2014
1:58pm Mon 4 Aug 14
I for one will be doing the lights out at 10pm with a picture of my grandfather alongside the light. He came back from WW1 but his health suffered always, my sister and I learnt the old songs from the war from him.
A million poppies shower over troops at the #WW1centenary in Bovington http://t.co/AxKQGvxuS9— @EchoJon 04 August 2014
Jon Beal is at Bovington where they've just fired poppies from a cannon as part of their commemorations. More pics and video to follow.
Some wonderful machines in the sky here at Bovington #WW1centenary http://t.co/LqJyAItlYl— @EchoJon 04 August 2014
RT @CorinDailyEcho: An open air civil service at the Waterfront in Bournemouth to mark the 100th anniversary of WWI. @bournemouthecho http:…— @Bournemouthecho 04 August 2014
An open air civil service at the Waterfront in Bournemouth to mark the 100th anniversary of WWI. @bournemouthecho http://t.co/xX29JjmM8o— @CorinDailyEcho 04 August 2014
James Manlow, Bournemouth's first Poet Laureate, has written a poem, The Roses, to mark 100-years of the First World War @Bournemouthecho— @CaitlinM_Echo 04 August 2014
Here's an image from yesterday's parade in Poole. There will be a full gallery online shortly. You can see the story and video here
The Mayor of Bournemouth has read The Exhortion and we are now hearing The Last Post @Bournemouthecho— @CaitlinM_Echo 04 August 2014
He says today is about remembering the past, including the 1,000 or so Bournemouth residents who died in the Great War @Bournemouthecho— @CaitlinM_Echo 04 August 2014
An open air civil service at the Waterfront in Bournemouth to mark the 100th anniversary of WWI. @bournemouthecho http://t.co/yNFFBl35Qy— @CorinDailyEcho 04 August 2014
An open air civil service at the Waterfront in Bournemouth to mark the 100th anniversary of WWI. @bournemouthecho http://t.co/jYroui8MDi— @CorinDailyEcho 04 August 2014
Stood at the Waterfront public open space by Bournemouth Pier Approach for a civic service to commemorate the Great War @Bournemouthecho— @CaitlinM_Echo 04 August 2014
There is a huge turnout this morning for the commemorative service, including veterans, invited guests and the public @Bournemouthecho— @CaitlinM_Echo 04 August 2014
Ever heard of Mabel Stobart? She went from Dorset to head up an all-female medical team in Serbia and had to flee across the Albanian mountains on a 250-mile trek. Serbian school children are still taught about her efforts. Read more here.
"THOSE men of Dorset and Hampshire who marched off to fight the Kaiser and his army could barely have comprehended that seven years before, the Hun-in-chief had been holding tea parties for their own children when he took up residence in Highcliffe."
And here's one of our favourites from Faith's gallery of Echo war stories:
We've got a list of WW1 related events here.
Did you know the real-life Lassie was a Dorset dog and a war hero? Read her story here
They include a Swiss barber from Boscombe who took an advert out to tell people he was not a German, and some amazing reporting of what was happening on the front line.
If you have stories about relatives you'd like to share with us, we'd love to hear them in the comments.
Here is today's commemorative cover:
We'll also be doing live coverage from tonight's Lights Out events in Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch.
Through the day we'll be highlighting some of amazing and heartbreaking stories we've uncovered from Dorset during the war, as well as covering what's happening locally and nationally.
Welcome to the Echo's Great War centenary coverage.