Staff prepare for Armistice Day service in Ypres

Fri 10 Nov, 2017

Twenty-five serving and retired members of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service, including Chief Fire Officer Jason Thelwell, have travelled to Belgium to take part in an Armistice Day parade and service tomorrow (Saturday 11 November).

Together with friends and colleagues from Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue Service, representatives have been visiting the Flemish town of Ypres every year since 1990.

This year's service will have additional significance as it is the centenary of the third battle of Ypres, known as the Battle of Passchendaele.

The fire and rescue service has a special connection with Ypres, which dates back to 1928. Every day at 8pm, buglers from the local fire service play The Last Post beneath the arches of the Menin Gate, a memorial erected in the decade following the end of World War One to remember the names of nearly 50,000 soldiers who have no known grave. 

One of the members of this year's trip, Station Commander Tim Parkins, said: “It is wonderful to meet the local fire service, whose commitment and dedication have kept this emotional ceremony happening each evening for nearly 90 years. It is also an honour to be able to take part in the parade and service each year.

"The trip gives visitors an insight into the events that occurred in this small area, and we actively help members trace relatives and find battlefield locations where family members may have served."