On that fateful day Germany, ignoring Belgium’s neutrality after being refused free passage through the country towards France, finally declared war and sent troops across its border and attacked the city of Liège.

This action forced Britain, which had been trying to avoid a conflict, into declaring war on the invaders and any hope of a diplomatic resolution evaporated as it set in motion an irreversible train of events which triggered a four-year period of destruction and carnage throughout Europe that even a century later, still resonates.

As we commemorate that terrible event which, over those years of conflict, cost the lives of millions of soldiers and civilians, what brings it into perspective for me is that over a thousand young men from Clydebank alone were killed during that conflict.

A thousand local families, who like many others throughout the UK and across Europe, were devastated by an Imperial War; a war on a grand scale which brought personal grief and havoc to millions of families who struggled to live with the consequences, whilst coming to terms with the total destruction of their villages, towns and cities.

The aftermath also saw the old Imperial order crumble as Empires began to collapse, the map of Europe was redrawn, new borders were created or realigned, sowing the seeds for a future World War 21 years later.

Although the war was fought throughout Europe and the Middle-East with huge casualties on land and sea, it is the years of fighting in Flanders and northern France on the battlefields of Ypres, Passchendaele and the Somme that come to mind when most people think of the war.

We can only imagine what it was like for those serving at the front and the horrific conditions in the trenches, living in the swill of mud, blood and the stench of death amid the constant bombardment which was the daily norm for these men, each and every one of them a hero.

Acts of bravery were almost commonplace as the men looked out for each other, striving to gain a little ground despite the huge cost of human life.

Poets were moved to write about the senselessness of war; but the ordinary servicemen who wrote in their letters home of their personal experiences are perhaps the most visceral and moving accounts of the war.

Historians have, over the past century, analysed and reassessed the reasons why this conflict — which caused the worst carnage in mankind — was inevitable and questioned the legitimacy of war.

Archive footage provides us with disturbing visual evidence - images that underpin that questioning, but answers are more difficult. Have we learned anything from the futility of the 1914 - 1918 war? Was it all in vain?

After all it was suppoed to be the war to end all wars, but following another world war and other conflicts, right up to the present day, the bombs and rockets that rain down on military and civilian targets tell us quite clearly that nothing has been learned.