Local Royal British Legion members to join thousands on pilgrimage of remembrance to World War One battlefield

PUBLISHED: 09:37 18 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:37 18 July 2018

Royal British Legion representatives from Ely, Littleport, Haddenham, Soham and Wilburton will travel to Belgium for the Great Pilgrimage 90 (GP90), which takes place between August 5 and 9. Picture: Submitted

Royal British Legion representatives from Ely, Littleport, Haddenham, Soham and Wilburton will travel to Belgium for the Great Pilgrimage 90 (GP90), which takes place between August 5 and 9. Picture: Submitted

Submitted

Members of local Royal British Legion (RBL) branches will join thousands on a pilgrimage of Remembrance to a World War One battlefield next month.

RBL representatives from Ely, Littleport, Haddenham, Soham and Wilburton will travel to Belgium for the Great Pilgrimage 90 (GP90), which takes place between August 5 and 9.

Brian Crabtree (City of Ely), Martin Goodearl (Littleport), Jonty Woodbridge (Soham), Sam Davies (Haddenham and Wilburton) and Jonathan Cawthorn (Sutton) as standard bearers and Verity Baker (City of Ely), Gary Sutcliffe (Littleport), Max Paines (Soham), Jezz Davies (Haddenham and Wilburton) and Paul Cawthorn (Sutton) as wreath bearers will represent their branch and the local community at The Royal British Legion’s Great Pilgrimage 90.

Also representing Cambridgeshire will be Tom Brown (City of Ely) as county standard bearer, Morwenna Woodbridge (Soham branch) as county youth standard bearer, David Martin (City of Ely) as county wreath bearer and Glenn Woodbridge (Soham) as county youth wreath bearer.

David Martin, of the City of Ely branch of The Royal British Legion (RBL), said: “Great Pilgrimage 90 is a unique opportunity for the RBL community to come together and bear our standards along the same route in Ypres taken 90 years earlier by the veterans and widows of the First World War.

“The local branches are looking forward to proudly representing our communities at the event.”

The group will tour some of the same battlefields and cemeteries visited by those on the 1928 Pilgrimage, before marching along the original route through Ypres, to the Menin Gate on August 8, bearing their branch standard and a wreath.

They will join more than 2,200 other Royal British Legion representatives and dignitaries, including civic and military guests from the UK, Commonwealth and Northern Europe who are taking part.

Once at the Menin Gate, a wreath will be laid on behalf of the local community.

The RBL branches hope to take Remembrance messages with them to the Menin Gate, on their wreath, where they will be displayed in a wreath installation for viewing by the general public until the end of August.

David added: “The parade will start at midday and we encourage the public to make the trip across to Ypres for August 8 and fill the Market Square to watch the parade, One Hundred Days ceremony and then enjoy an afternoon of musical entertainment including The Central Band of the Royal British Legion.”

GP90 will mark 90 years since the original Royal British Legion Pilgrimage in 1928, which saw 11,000 World War One veterans and war widows visit the battlefields of the Somme in France and Ypres in Belgium, a decade after the conflict ended.

That pilgrimage ended with 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.

For more information about GP90 or your local Royal British Legion branch, visit www.britishlegion.org.uk/membership/branches-and-counties

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