The centenary of the outbreak of World War One has arrived, and commemorations have begun nationwide.

The anniversary is particularly poignant for the Royal Star and Garter Homes - a charity established to care for the severely injured young servicemen returning from the battlefields of Europe.

One serviceman, Horice Ham, came to the home on Richmond Hill after becoming permanently disabled when he was shot in the arm in France in 1917.

He enlisted in 1915, aged 20, and a year later, along with his regiment the 16th Middlesex, fought at the Battle of the Somme, where he recalls seeing friends die within moments.

"I joined up with four friends and we stuck together until the Somme," he says, "Then, within a few minutes two were dead and two of us injured.

"Only 100 men out of our 800-strong battalion made it back."

As war raged in Europe, Britain’s military hospitals became overwhelmed with wounded troops.

When Queen Mary expressed concern for the future of these disabled servicemen, an independent charity was set up and, in 1916, the Royal Star and Garter Home on Richmond Hill opened its doors to 65 residents, with an average age of 22, in the former Star and Garter hotel.

Some residents were able to return home, while others were helped to live fulfilled lives for many years.

A new purpose-built home, the iconic listed building we know today, was specially designed by Sir Edwin Cooper and funded by the British Women’s Hospital Committee under the auspices of Queen Mary.

It was Her Majesty, along with King George V who opened the new home in July 1924.

The home, which moved to Surbiton in August last year, provided a permanent haven for paralysed and severely disabled men of the king’s forces.

After recovering from his injuries sustained during the Somme, Mr Ham returned to France where he was shot and left permanently disabled.

Standing in waist-high water in the trenches also caused osteoarthritis in his spine.

After his wife died, he came to live in the home on Richmond Hill.

The ex-serviceman hopes the charity will long continue to help people wounded through wars.

"The Star and Garter is my home now," he says. "It’s a wonderful, wonderful place. I only hope, just as the home was here for me when I needed it, it will be here in years to come for brave service men and women."