THERE were no veterans present at Monday’s deeply moving ceremonies to mark the 100-year anniversary of Britain joining the Great War.

The last British survivors are all now gone. But the nation’s understanding of the awesome sacrifices they and their fallen comrades made-standing ready to die to protect the freedom of others is undiminished.

The scenes of young and old falling silent as one in their memory-from Glasgow and London to the fields of Belgium, where so many fought and perished in the most horrific conditions, were proof of that.

While the courage of the Allies achieved the most remarkable victory in 1918, the failings of politicians meant it was not , tragically, the war ‘to end all wars’.

Is it too much to hope that, with events moving at a terrifying speed in Ukraine, Gaza, Libya and Iraq, today’s world leaders might learn from errors of the past?And the tragedy, therefore, is that although we mourn those who fell in the First World War we still make the same mistakes.

If we really want to pay homage to our fallen heroes, we could start by learning the lessons of their tragic sacrifice.

Colin Henson, Ullswater, York.