Members of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service taking part in the parade.
11 November 2009
More than 20 serving and retired members of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue service are in Belgium today to take part in the Remembrance Day parade.
Together with friends and colleagues from Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue Service, representatives have been visiting the Flemish town of Ypres every year since 1990.
The fire 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 that have no known grave.
Group Manager Keith Holland has organised the trip for many years. He said: “It is wonderful to meet the local fire service, whose commitment and dedication have kept this emotional ceremony happening each evening. It is also an honour to be able to take part in the Remembrance Day parade each year.”
Several members of the group will take part in the parade through the town of Ypres on Wednesday 11 November, led by our Area Manager Response, Denis O’Driscoll, with Pete Soulsby as acting Parade Marshall and Standard bearer Dickie Heybourne. They will join other local and international fire services in this event, where there will be over 200 serving firefighters from across the UK alone, attending the Remembrance Day Parade beneath the Menin Gate.
Ypres is a small area of Belgium which was the scene of many battles over a period of four years. More than 1.2 million soldiers were wounded and over 500,000 killed, of which about 250,000 were British.
Keith added: “The trip gives visitors an insight and understanding of the events that occurred in this small area of Flanders.
“We actively help members trace relatives and find battlefield locations where family members may have served”.
This year’s theme for the Battlefield tours will be casualty handling and the reburial of soldiers found in the Salient.
The group left Aylesbury at 5am on Monday 9 November, and are due to arrive back today at 8pm.
Please click here to find out more about the annual trip to Ypres