Lights went out across Kingston on Monday, to mark 100 years since time ran out for millions of Europe's citizens.
Britain's ultimatum to Germany, as her troops marched into Belgium, expired at 11pm on August 4, 1914, leading to war.
Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey was moved to utter his famous words: "The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."
Rev Jonathan Wilkes, from All Saints church, addressed a crowd at the ceremony in Market Place.
He said: "Through the mist of time, the true awfulness of that war has been diluted by 100 remembrances, but today, we try again to recall the wretched suffering of so many who died or were injured."
Inside All Saints, 11 candles were put out one by one until 11pm.
Callum Cronin from Rose Youth Theatre reading a journal entry from a soldier's diary
Rt Rev Richard Cheetham, Bishop of Kingston, said in Kingston there was "a whole community caught up" in the war, from the thousands who passed through the East Surreys barracks to those who built Sopwith fighter planes.
He added: "In many parts of our world lights are being extinguished.
"All of us in our global and interconnected world need to play our part in standing for justice and peace."
Kingston MPs Zac Goldsmith and Edward Davey at the service
Former councillor and RAF electrician Douglas Reynolds, 93, attended the ceremony, and said it was "right and proper" the ceremony was held in Market Place, where members of the public could join.
His father, Henry, had been a conscientious objector, he said, but was selected for service in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and "he didn't mind doing that".
Kingston and Surbiton MP Edward Davey said: "We have just got to do more in working for peace, and that is the best way to honour those people who gave their lives."
Dignitaries, politicians and ex-soldiers joined members of the public in commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War One