Huntingdonshire legion members set to join pilgrimage to commemorate end of First World War

The Menin Gate, Ypres

The Menin Gate, Ypres - Credit: Archant

Members of the St Ives (Hunts) and District branches of the Royal British Legion and the Royal British Legion Women’s Section are to join thousands on a pilgrimage of remembrance to First World War battlefields in August.

The event will culminates in a parade and ceremony in Ypres as part of the end of the First World War centenary commemorations.

The Royal British Legion event, known as Great Pilgrimage 90 (GP90), takes place between August 5-9 and will be one of the largest in the charity’s history.

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

Huntingdonshire legion members Mike Robinson and Geoffrey March-Killen (RBL) and Jane Crowe and Julie Briggs (RBLWS), will represent the St Ives (Hunts) and District Branches and the local community at the event, as standard bearers and wreath layers respectively.

Mike, Geoffrey, Jane and Julie 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.

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They will join more than 2,200 other 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, Geoffrey and Julie will lay wreaths on behalf of the St Ives community.

Monica Thompson of the St Ives (Hunts) and District Branch, said: “Great Pilgrimage 90 is 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 branch looks forward to proudly representing St Ives at the event.”

To find out more about GP90 or the Royal British Legion, contact Mrs Thompson by e-mail at