Royal British Legion members given send-off ahead of historic trip
PUBLISHED: 11:59 01 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:59 01 August 2018
Community groups gathered to give members of Sheringham’s Royal British Legion branch a send-off ahead of their trip to the First World War battlefields.
Branch members will join thousands on the Great Pilgrimage 90 (GP90) to the battlefields that culminates in a parade and ceremony in Ypres, Belgium.
Legion members Eddie Mayell and Clare Mayell will represent the Sheringham branch and the community at the event, which rumns from August 5-9, as standard bearer and wreath layer respectively.
Their message of remembrance on the wreath has been signed by members of the community including North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb and Town Mayor Madeleine Ashcroft, who signed on behalf of the people of Sheringham.
GP90 will mark 90 years since the original Royal British Legion Pilgrimage in 1928, which saw 11,000 war veterans and widows visit the battlefields of the Somme in France and Ypres, a decade after the conflict ended.
That 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.
The Mayells 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 legion representatives and dignitaries, including civic and military guests from the UK, Commonwealth and northern Europe.
Once at the Menin Gate, Mrs Mayell will lay a wreath on behalf of the Sheringham community, which will be displayed in an installation for viewing by the public until the end of August.
Mr Mayell said: “It’s a unique opportunity for the legion 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 Sheringahm branch looks forward to proudly representing Norfolk at the event.”
Last month, the couple visited Sheringham High School to talk about the project and for its historical society to sign the message of remembrance.