Rye MembersDavid Pawsey and Paul Whiteman will travel to Europe for The Royal British Legion’s Great Pilgrimage 90 5-9thAugust 2018

 Members of the Rye branch of The Royal British Legion are to join thousands on a pilgrimage of Remembrance to World War One battlefield that culminates in a parade and ceremony in Ypres as part of the end of the First World War centenary commemorations this August.

The Royal British Legion event, known as Great Pilgrimage 90 (GP90), takes place between the 5th and  9thof August 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 World War One 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.

Rye has a strong connection to Ypres; the famous Menin Gate was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield (1856-1952) of Rye.  Among the recent additions to the Rye Castle Museum at the Ypres Tower is the model for the Cross of Sacrifice designed by Sir Reginald for the Imperial War Museum to commemorate soldiers who lost their lives in the Ypres Salient during WWI. but have no marked graves.

The display has been donated by Priscilla Ryan and the late Paul Blomfield of Rye, grandchildren of Sir Reginald. Copies of the cross are present in most Commonwealth war cemeteries around the world. There is one in the churchyard of St Mary’s Church, another in Arlington Cemetery, Washington DC, honouring fallen Canadians. The cross is usually of limestone on the face of which is mounted a bronze cross with the blade pointing down.

Local Legion members, Paul Whiteman and David Pawsey will represent the Rye & DistrictBranch and the local community at the event, as Standard Bearer and wreath layer respectively.

Paul and David 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 the 8th August, bearing their branch standard and a wreath.

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, David will lay a wreath on behalf of the fallen of Rye.

Neale East, Chairman, of the Rye Branch of The Royal British Legion, comments: “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 Rye Branch looks forward to proudly representing Rye at the event.”

As local champions of Remembrance, the Rye Branch of The Royal British Legion is looking to work in partnership with their community to bring their unique Remembrance message to the Menin Gate, on their wreath, where it will be displayed in a wreath installation for viewing by the general public until the end of August.

The parade will start at midday and we encourage the public to make the trip across to Ypres for the 8th August and fill the Market Square to watch the parade, Hundred Days Offensive ceremony and then enjoy an afternoon of musical entertainment including The Central Band of the Royal British Legion.

If you want to find out more about GP90 or your local Royal British Legion branch contact Neale East, Chair & Secretary, at info@ryebritishlegion.org.uk

Rye British Legion

Rye & District Branch of the Royal British Legion was formed in the 1920’s and now holds its meetings in the George Hotel in Rye on the second Monday of March, June, September & November (AGM).

The Royal British Legion provides financial, social and emotional support to all those who have served and are currently serving in the Armed Forces, as well as their dependents. Anyone who has served in the forces for seven days or more is eligible for our help.

Unfortunately we are unable to assist with requests for help and assistance at a local level, for all inquiries please follow the link Help & Support or all the Freephone number – 0808 8028080 –  at any time between 8am and 8pm, 7 days a week.  Calls from landlines and from most mobile networks will be entirely free of charge.

The Royal British Legion is the nation’s custodian of Remembrance, ensuring that people remember those who have given their lives for the freedom we enjoy today. The Rye British Legion fully support Rye’s civic acts of Remembrance, usually led by the Mayor and Town Council.

Rye British Legion arrange a number of activities for Members including battlefield tours to France, a recent visit to the House of Parliament and Imperial War Museum.

Rye British Legion also maintains a close liaison with other Service organisations in the District, including the Women’s Section, Royal Air Force Association and Rye Sea Cadets as well as acting as a focus for local veterans issues.

For information on how to join the Rye British Legion please follow the link Members of the Royal British Legion

Updated:  16.07.18