MONDAY marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. In the four years that followed, more than 20 million people were injured and 16 million men, women and children lost their lives; including more than a million British casualties who made the ultimate sacrifice.

There were 5,383 people from Swindon who fought in the fields and trenches of France, Belgium and beyond – some just boys of 14 and 15.

The town has so many connections to the Great War. Take Rex Warneford after whom Highworth Warneford School is named. In 1915, as a pilot in the Royal Navy Air Service, Lt Warneford won the Victoria Cross for becoming the first airman to take down a Zeppelin.

Or the stories of trenches dug in the fields near Redcliffe Street in Rodbourne Cheney; used in attempt to ready troops for the battlefields of Europe but which could never truly ready people for the horrors they witnessed.

As the son of a history teacher, I grew up hearing stories about the First World War and reading letters sent from the front to loved ones back home. I will never forget the sacrifices made by so many and I am very proud of the work done by so many volunteers to ensure that the stories of those involved in the Great War live on to this day.

We each have our own ways of remembering those who selflessly committed to upholding the rule of law, safeguarding democracy and protecting our liberty. Quiet tributes to those whom we owe so much.

At the outbreak of war in 1914 the Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, famously said “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.”

As part of the centenary commemorations, the Lights Out campaign encourages people across the country to turn off their lights between 10pm and 11pm on Monday night, leaving on a single light or candle for a moment of reflection.

Each week when I travel to and from Parliament by train, I see the statue of an unknown soldier from the First World War on platform one at Paddington Station, pictured right. In his hand he holds a letter of remembrance.

If you visit www.1418now before Monday, you can write your own letter which will be published online and will form part of a last memorial formed entirely of words.

Be they at Ypres. On the Somme. In the skies over Brussels or during postings to Sierra Leone and Mesopotamia. On Monday I urge you to take a moment and think of the brave individuals who left our growing town in 1914 to defend our freedoms and remember those who sadly never returned.