On Thursday 17th May 2012, Five Branch members set off to Ypres to take party in the 100km walk around the battlefields.
The team was led by Roger Smith who has been going for many years. Roger kindly volunteered to organise the trip so he did all the admin and made sure we were all at the right place at the right time.
The team was Roger Smith, Dave Gargett, Carol & Bill Bratty, Nick Butt & Forest of Dean Scout Leader, Trevor Hek.
Day one started with bright sunshine and off we went to complete our first leg 20km for the day. The route took us past many of the famous sites of WW1 making the walk very interesting, especially when arriving at places that we knen alternative route on foot!
Lots of international teams were taking part including representitives from the German, British, Dutch and Belgian armed forces and cadets. A diverse range of walking clubs were also in attendance including that of the Metropolitan Police as well as individulas and families.
Traditionally, following the first days hiking participants gather at the German Friedhof at Langemark, The Belgian Memorial and Menin Gate at Ieper (Ypres). in Ieper our group gathered to the rear of The Cloth Hall and the Parade formed up behind a good Belgian band with an international contingent of standard bearers, many representing The Royal British Legion. following a short service at The Belgian Memorial we marched to the Menin Gate in order to take part in the nightly ceremony of remembrance. Following the short ceremoony we marched back to the Cloth Hall where the Mayor of Ypres took the salute.
Day two was a very hot day and we decided that we would do 25km, the countryside was really lovely and Flanders was looking its best.
Day three the weather changed and it was overcast and slightly damp but it didn't affect our spirits. Following completion of our final day we attended the presentation ceremony where our team was awarded a pennant for being 3rd foreign team as well as being presented with individual medals for taking part.
All in all it was a very enjoyable experience. The Branch intends to enter a team intp the 2013 event due to take place between Friday 10th & Sunday 12th May 2013.
Details from Roger, Bill or Dave at The Branch.