Five members of the Stoke Gifford branch of the Royal British Legion (SG RBL) are travelling to France and Belgium this August to commemorate 100 years since the end of WW1 by taking part in the Great Pilgrimage 90 (GP90).
In the biggest membership event in its history, the RBL is recreating its 1928 pilgrimage to World War One battlefields. A decade after the end of WW1, veterans and war widows visited the battlefields of the Somme and Ypres before marching to the Menin Gate in Ypres on 8th August 1928.
Exactly 90 years later, thousands of Legion members will recreate the 1928 Great Pilgrimage to visit the same battlefields and then, carry their standards along the same route to the Menin Gate, to commemorate the last 100 days of WW1 and represent an entire generation that served while defending their country. Once at the gate, a remembrance service will be held and afterwards, Legion members and spectators will head to the Great Square for an afternoon of exhibitions and musical performances.
Karen Falconer (standard bearer), John Maloney (wreath carrier) and Tony Peters will be representing the branch at the GP90, where they will visit the battlefields and then proudly march to the Menin Gate with the thousands of other Legion members. Brian Hewitt and Veronica Caradine will also be in attendance as spectators.
The SG RBL received a £1,000 grant from South Gloucestershire Council’s Member Award Funding scheme, which has provided enough money for two people to attend the GP90 event. Local councillors Brian Allinson, Ernie Brown, Trevor Jones and Keith Cranney presented a cheque to the SG RBL in February 2018.
David Bell, press officer, commented:
“The branch is very grateful to the local councillors for this grant which will enable the local community to be represented at this important memorial event.”
John Maloney, who is going to lay a wreath at the Menin Gate, said:
“I feel very honoured about this, as those brave men, and young boys who lied about their age, did as their country had asked them to. Without these brave people, we as a country would not have the freedoms that we have now. They gave their everything for our today. I go to represent my community, which is the parish of Stoke Gifford and the towns of Bradley Stoke and Filton, where we, as a branch, recruit for our membership and carry out the annual Poppy Appeal. This is a privileged task that I do with great pride. Our community says ‘thank you’ to brave young men.”
Around 2,400 British Legion members are expected at the GP90, along with Princes William and Harry. To find out more about the event or the battles that took place during WW1, visit www.britishlegion.org.uk
Related link: Stoke Gifford RBL on Facebook
Photo: GP90 cheque presentation (l-r): Tony Peters, John Maloney, Cllr Brian Allinson, Cllr Trevor Jones, Cllr Ernie Brown, Cllr Keith Cranney and Brian Hewitt MBE.
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 32). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.