RELATIVES of men who died during the First World War will lay rosemary and flower sprigs at a Basingstoke event as a mark of remembrance to commemorate the centenary of the four-year conflict.

The Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane Councillor Roger Gardiner will host a civic service at St Michael's Church, in Church Square, on August 4 - exactly 100 years to the day the First World War broke out.

The service, which will be led by Reverend Canon Jo Stoker, will start at 7pm and will include music, poetry and stories from, and about, the war.

Basingstoke resident Mick Smith, who lost both his grandfathers and three other family members during the war, will be among a group of people giving a reading at the special event.

Others reading at the service will include North East Hampshire MP James Arbuthnot and Corporal Samuel Thompson, from the 443 Squadron Air Training Corps.

At the start of the ceremony, the church's choir will lead the Mayor through a guard of honour made up of cadets from the 3 Platoon Basingstoke, the 443 Squadron Air Training Corps, the Basingstoke Sea Cadets and the Vyne School Combined Cadet Force, into the church.

He will be followed by the clergy, the Deputy Lieutenant Air Vice Marshal, Paul Luker CBE OBE AFC and standard bearers.

At the end of the service, relatives of people named on war memorial will then be invited to visit the memorial chapel, built in 1919 to commemorate Basingstoke men lost in the four-year conflict, to lay flowers in their memory.

Cllr Gardiner said: “I am honoured to be holding this service as part of a programme of commemorations taking place around the borough, and I hope residents will take this opportunity to join us.

“It is very important to take this time to reflect on the sacrifices made by people from our communities, both those who fought and those who contributed in other roles.”

Other church services will take place around the borough to remember those who died in the war, including a service by Reverend Rosalind Rutherford from 7pm at All Saints Church, in Southern Road, Basingstoke on August 3.

On August 4, a candle-lit vigil will be held at Whitchurch Town Hall, in Newbury Street, from 10pm to remember the those who fought and died for their country between 1914 and 1918.

In addition, an hour-long candle-lit commemoration ceremony will be held at Winchester Cathedral from 10pm and will feature time for reflection, music and readings. During the service, lit lanterns will be taken from the Cathedral to symbolise soldiers leaving to fight in the war.