Bill and Robert join the Great Pilgrimage 90

Words and photo by Dave Barry

Scarborough is to be represented at a big ceremony in France marking the 90th anniversary of the Great Pilgrimage.

In 1928, a decade after the end of WW1, the British Legion arranged for veterans and war widows to visit the battlefields of the Somme in France and Ypres in Belgium, before marching to the Menin Gate in Ypres on 8 August 1928.

The Legion is recreating the 1928 pilgrimage for thousands of members.

Two representatives of every branch will take part in a parade, taking their branch standard and a wreath to lay at the Menin Gate.

There are 1,200 branches so there will be 1,200 standards and 1,200 wreaths.

The One Hundred Days ceremony will commemorate the centenary of the last 100 days of WW1.

The Scarborough branch will be represented by standard bearer Bill Parker and wreath bearer Robert Owens, who are pictured with secretary Ian Temple.

“We are representing the war dead of Scarborough, which has 330 war graves”, Bill explained.

The message on the wreath card was written by Gladstone Road School pupils Frankie Newton, Marcus Roach and Charlie Flintoft, who won a competition.

Gus and Carol South of Kirkbymoorside will travel with Bill and Robert.

Following the ceremony, members will join spectators in Ypres market square for an afternoon of comradeship, exhibitions and musical performances.

* The Great Pilgrimage is a term which is also used to describe a 1913 march by suffragists campaigning non-violently for women's suffrage.