Final preparations are now in hand for one of the national events marking 100 years since World War I – and it will take place in Argyll and Bute.

People from both sides of the Atlantic will gather on Islay on May 4 for the International Service of Remembrance, marking the losses of the SS Tuscania, HMS Otranto and the lives of hundreds of those on board.

This event is part of the WW100 national programme, and will see senior representatives from the UK, USA and Europe in attendance.

The Islay event will also mark Argyll and Bute’s contribution to the First World War, and honour those from communities all over the area who gave their lives in service of their country.

It is expected that there will be television coverage of the services held on May 4, and so it will be possible for people across the world to join in the commemorative events.

The website contains information on the events of 1918, and the efforts being made in 2018 to remember the sacrifices made.

Helensburgh and Lomond has also played its part in this programme of commemorative events. Part of the national centenary programme running between 2014 and 2018 saw special paving stones laid in the communities where holders of the prestigious Victoria Cross military award lived.

Two of these happen to be in the Helensburgh and Lomond area. The first, in memory of Sir Reginald (JRN) Graham, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, was laid at Cardross war memorial last April. The second VC paving stone ceremony, for Colonel George Findlay, will take place in November of this year, and is the last of four special stones laid across Argyll and Bute.

Many local people will also remember the service held in Colquhoun Square in May 2016 to mark the Battle of Jutland, with hundreds of people paying their respects. Considering the ties Helensburgh has to the armed forces, these commemoration events are always meaningful as there are so many in the town who would be the first called on if war touches us again.

It is important to take the time to mark these events, and to consider what they really mean. It is almost impossible for someone of my generation to imagine the scale of loss that the world wars brought to every community. If we do not remember, and learn, then we risk repeating the same mistakes.