The lights went out and candles were lit as York, East and North Yorkshire joined in the national commemoration of the outbreak of the First World War.

The 100th anniversary of the start of the conflict was marked with prayer, song, readings and special services.

Across the region, families and those in public and commercial buildings heeded the call to put their electric ights out between 10pm and 11pm. Britain officially declared war at 11pm on August 4, 1914.

At York Minster, Canon Pastor Michael Smith led a service that began at 8pm during which the cathedral's lights were extinguished gradually until just two candles remained in St John's Chapel, where a prayer vigil continued until 11pm when the candles were put out and the cathedral plunged into total darkness.

Canon Smith said: "It's about looking forward as well as looking back. War is futile. By redoubling our efforts to make sure it won't happen again, that is how we should remember it."

The service was a time to remember the general mood of fear and excitement at the beginning of the war.

Railway chaplain Dr Stephen Sorby led a sunset service at 8pm at the Railway Cenotaph in Station Rise where an 100th anniversary candle was lit. Many other churches held special services.

The First World War came alive in words, pictures and song at York Cemetery where many servicemen from the conflict lie bured.

The congregation of 250 people including Second World War veterans sang First World War songs, listened to readings from the conflict, and prayed in the cemetery's chapel and a marquee alongside.

A continuous slide show of images from the First World War was displayed on the chapel walls which were lined with artwork inspired by the conflict including displays by children from St Lawrence and Fishergate Primary Schools.

Nearly everyone present had a relative who had served in either the First or Second World War.

The service began with representatives from the Royal British Legion and Yorkshire Regiments laying a wreath at the cemetery's cross of sacrifice before British Legion banners processed into the cemetery chapel as Celtic piper Stephen Roughley played a lament.

Nearly 200 First World War soldiers aged between 18 and 50 are buried at the cemetery and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission was represented at the service, as were several regiments and the city's emergency services.

Some of the congregation visited the war graves afterwards.