GP 90 RBL Pilgrimage to Ypres

Thu, Aug 31st 2023 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

90 year celebration of original Pilgrimage


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31st August 2023 GP90 RBL Pilgrimage to Ypres, 5 to 9 August 2018– Louise Mote

Louise has been involved in the British Legion since she was 18, she was a bar maid at a pub in Ruddington and her boyfriend was a soldier. Back to GP90, the RBL’s recreation of the 1928 Pilgrimage, a decade after the end of WW1 to mark the centenary of the launch of the ‘100 days Offensive’.  1150 branches and 2200 people made the journey with a Standard bearer (John Pidgeon) and Wreath bearer (Louise’s role) from each branch. Louise raised her funds with a ‘Prosecco Tea Party’, so self-funded when off they set on Bus 911.

The Zonnebeke Museum, Passchendaele, in the centre of Ypres Salient, where one could experience the interactive design and descend into the dugout (underground shelter) and explore the reconstructed British and German trenches, noticeably so close together. Next the Tyne Cot cemetery with 12000 graves, 80% of which are ‘nameless.  There is a wall made of Portland stone with 35000 soldiers engraved identified, but all unnamed. Then Cloth Hall, It was one of the largest commercial buildings of the Middle Ages, when it served as the main market and warehouse for the Flemish city's prosperous cloth industry. The original structure, erected mainly in the 13th century and completed 1304, lay in ruins after artillery fire devastated Ypres in WW1. Between 1933 and 1967, the hall was meticulously reconstructed to its prewar condition. Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing, dedicated to the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres Salient of World War I and whose graves are unknown. 

In Menin Tour Square is a statue to represent the Christmas truce, the moment when British and German troopers stopped fighting for a game of football on Christmas Day, 1914. Blurton-born sculptor Andy Edwards carved a touching statue entitled ‘All Together Now’.. The Ulster Tower, Thiepval (the largest Commonwealth Memorial) commemorates the men of the 36th Ulster Division and all those from Ulster who served in the WW1, plus 72000 British and S. African soldiers lost in the Battle of the Somme. The Arras Memorial is a WW I memorial in France, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, located in the Faubourg d'Amiens British Cemetery, in the western part of the town of Arras. The memorial commemorates 35,942 soldiers of the forces of the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand, with no known grave, who died in the Arras sector (also recognizing 1000 airman from the Royal Flying Core). The Battle of Vimy Ridge was part of the Battle of Arras in the Pas-de-Calais department of France. The main combatants were the four divisions of the Canadian Corps in the First Army, against three divisions of the German 6th Army. Louise then showed a short video of the parade led by the Band of the Royal Marines, what a spectacle.

Duncan gave the vote of thanks saying that Louise had given an inspiring presentation that reminded him of the ‘moth shrines’ (members of the tin hat society) for the Rhodesians from his time working in Africa. It was delivered with enthusiasm and some humour, so the members joined him in thanking Louise in the normal manner.                                   AR

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