Remembrance Tour 2024

Date: 20th Feb 2024 Author: Caroline Jewell

Last weekend 54 members of Wellingborough District Scouts joined together to travel to the World War One battlefields and cemeteries in the area around Ypres in Belgium.
We met at 4.00a.m on Saturday morning, in order to get down to Ashford for the Eurotunnel.
It was a quiet journey as most of the young people took the opportunity to go back to sleep on the coach.
We were lucky to be the last vehicle on the Eurotunnel, which meant that we had the rest of the train to stretch our legs in.
We had picked up our Tour Guides at the services in Ashford, and from then on they told us the story of the soldiers who had made the journey to Belgium in 1914.

Our first stop was at Tyne Cot Cemetery, we were split into two groups and our guides, Jo and John gave us some history and context. We were able to find the graves of local men, including Private Richardson from Finedon Road. We then found the name of Marcus’ relative on the memorial stones. We ended our visit with laying a wreath at the stone of Sanctuary.
We then made our way into Ypres for the In Flanders Field museum. The museum staff were most complimentary about the behaviour of our young people, who spent a great deal of time exploring the exhibits.
After a quick stop at the hotel to drop our bags, we went to the Menin Gate, where Jo and John explained its history, and the significance of the Menin Road. Unfortunately the gate is currently covered in scaffolding, but the display boards and information helped to tell its story. Finally it was time for tea, we were all ready for the chicken and chips at the restaurant, before returning to the Menin Gate for the Last Post ceremony.
At 8.00p.m three buglers of the Ypres Fire Service stepped forward and we took part in the moving ceremony, we were able to lay two wreathes.
Following the ceremony we stopped at the chocolate shop, where copious amounts of chocolate were purchased.
Given we had been up since the wee small hours it was not surprising that everyone was in bed early.
We had a little longer in bed on Sunday, but were out of the hotel by 845a.m ready for the next visit.
Our first stop, on a rainy Sunday was at the Langemark German cemetery, which has a completely different feel to the British cemeteries. Again we laid our wreath as we paid our respects.
Our final stop was at Houge Crater, where we visited the trenches and an incredibly informative museum.
Then it time to run to the coast. We travelled to Calais to catch the ferry, and then on to Wellingborough by coach.
My thanks to all those who made the trip possible. The behaviour of the young people was exemplary and their questions and interest were great. Our tour guides complimented all for their contribution.
We showed young people at their best and we showed that We Will Remember Them.

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls