Morris men at the Menin Gate

Club member Ken Smith and his fellow Morris Dancers travelled to Ypres in the WWI 100th anniversary year to lay a wreath for fallen Morris Men

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Morris Men go to Ypres

Club members have many outside interests and our Ken Smith is a well-known local Morris Dancer. Ken reports on a recent trip to Ypres by the Mayflower Morris Men, together with enough friends and family to fill a coach, to lay wreaths commemorating the many Morris Men who fell in the Great War.

“The visit was proposed by the late Tony Motley, a great Morris dancer and member of Mayflower Morris Men, ex King’s Trooper and British Legion standard bearer.  It was Tony who “recruited” me at The Fox & Hounds Ramsden Heath in 1991!

Tony visited Ypres each year. Last year he suggested that we might like to go there in the 100th anniversary year and lay a wreath for the fallen Morris Men. Sadly, last November he succumbed to cancer and we miss him very much.  However, we decided we would go forward with his idea in his honour, and thus the trip in October was born. 

Moving Menin Gate Ceremony

We all went out by coach on Thursday 11th (early!!), dancing in the Grote Markt in Ypres in the afternoon, and then laid our wreaths at the Menin Gate Last Post ceremony in the evening.  Each wreath was laid by a member of the group who had lost a family member during the War.

The wreaths were laid at a very moving Menin Gate ceremony. The Last Post was sounded, as it has been every year since 1923, except when Ypres was occupied during the Second World War.

Afterwards, we danced some more in the square and …. imbibed a few beers!!
Amongst the party were Morris Men from Blackmore, Thames Valley and Albury, a total of 12 dancers and a musician. 

We stayed overnight in Ypres. Next morning the members of the group visited Sanctuary Wood and the “In Flanders Fields” museum before finally, after lunch, we headed home, getting back in the evening of the 12th.“