Exmouth represented at Great Pilgrimage 90 in Ypres

PUBLISHED: 17:00 24 August 2018

Darren New (left) and David Turner (right) went to Ypres for the Great Pilgrimage 90. Picture: Contributed

Darren New (left) and David Turner (right) went to Ypres for the Great Pilgrimage 90. Picture: Contributed

Archant

Members of Exmouth’s Royal British Legion branch have taken part in a pilgrimage to a World War One battlefield.

David Turner and Darren New represented the town in the Great Pilgrimage 90 (GP90) to Ypres earlier this month.

They took part in a ‘spectacular’ two-mile march through the Belgian town to the Menin Gate memorial led by 1,100 standard bearers.

The Royal British Legion event marked the anniversary of 11,000 World War One veterans and widows making the first pilgrimage to the battlefields of The Somme and Ypres in 1928 – a decade after the conflict ended.

Sue McQueen of the Exmouth Branch, said: “Being part of such an historic event, representing Exmouth in commemorating those that lost their lives in World War One, was an honour and something they will never forget.”

The original pilgrimage culminated in a march through Ypres to the Commonwealth War Grave Commission’s Menin Gate Memorial for a ceremony to commemorate the launch of the Hundred Days Offensive, and in remembrance of those who never returned.

Darren and David toured some of the same battlefields and cemeteries visited by those on the 1928 pilgrimage, before marching along the original route though Ypres to the Menin Gate bearing the branch standard and a wreath. Darren represented Exmouth as the standard bearer. David laid the Exmouth wreath at the Menin Gate. The Exmouth branch of the legion brought their unique message to the gate on their wreath, where it will be displayed in an installation for viewing by the general public until the end of the month.

David and Darren joined more than 2,200 legion representatives and dignitaries including civic and military guests from the UK, commonwealth and Northern Europe.

Bob Gamble, The Royal British Legion’s head of commemorative events, said: “GP90 was the legion’s biggest membership event in modern history and is a suitable tribute from the members of The Royal British Legion in honour of the World War One generation, echoing the way the British Legion community commemorated the 10th anniversary of the conflict in 1928.”

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