Initially neutral, in the spring of 1916 Romania was insistently requested by France and Great Britain to enter the war in order to relieve the huge German pressure on the West front. Queen Maria of Romania, who was British by birth and a grand daughter of Queen Victoria, strongly advocated entering the war on the Entente side.
Tonight, as we remember the point 100 years ago when the British Empire formally entered the First World War, the lamps will go out once again. Across the country millions of people will turn off the lights in their homes, businesses and public buildings, taking a moment to reflect on the dire events that were unfolding a century ago.
The 70th anniversity of D-Day the centenary of the First World War pinpoint 2014 as a year of wartime nostalgia. Amongst fabulous stories of rebel veterans absconding from their care homes to Normandy and colourful re-enactment celebrations, one of the quieter questions being bartered around is 'do kids really know what's going on?.'
Before the Great War, Armed Forces rugby had to fight against the success of soccer - in 1906 the Army and Navy had 758 'Association' teams. A rugby Challenge match first held in 1878 was revived in 1905, became 'Official' in 1907 and an annual fixture in 1909, endorsed by no less than Admiral Lord Jellicoe...
In the 19th century the very British game of rugby football was adopted successfully throughout her Dominions; by 1906, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa were regularly beating us at our own game. In the years preceding the First World War, rugby tried to conquer territories closer to home with expeditionary forays into Continental Europe.
Much recent writing on the Great War has veered between the highest-ranked and the humble: a determined rehabilitation of Haig at one end, with plain-spoken voices from the ranks at the other, whether individual Tommies who survived to tell their story, or whole battalions of 'Pals'. Lost in all this has been the story of the men arguably most responsible for British obduracy and eventual success - the officers of the line.
It began with a missing war memorial at a rugby club. Rosslyn Park, founded in 1879 had a clubhouse plaque to those killed in the 'Second Great War', including Prince Obolensky, England's Russian winger who crashed his RAF Hurricane in 1940. Nothing existed for the first Great War, 1914-18. Why no memorial to them?
Like smoke drifting across no man's land as the sound of the guns and the mortar finally fell quiet, the Christmas truce of 1914 has been shrouded by the mists of time. A historical event which occurred early in the First World War and one many of us are familiar with; yet it has the feel and texture of legend as much as fact.