15/11/2013 60 British school children travel to Belgium with Eurostar to join a special ‘Last Post’ Ceremony in Ypres
15 Nov 2013
On Saturday 9 November, 60 British school children travelled from London to Brussels with Eurostar to take part in a special ‘Last Post Ceremony’ under the Menin Gate in Ypres, on Monday 11 November in tribute to the courage and self-sacrifice of those who fell in the First World War.
The children aged between 9 and 18 from 60 schools across the UK travelled to Belgium to collect sacred soil from the battlefields of Flanders to be brought back to the UK as part of the Flanders Fields Memorial Garden project. The Garden at the Guards Museum at the Wellington Barracks, near Buckingham Palace will open in November 2014. The London Memorial Garden will be the first of several memorial gardens to open around the world to commemorate the centenary of WW1 1914 – 1918.
The British schools have been twinned with Belgian schools who are hosting them in Belgium, before all the school children from the UK and Belgium travel to Ypres for the ‘Last Post’ Ceremony. The special ceremony will take place on Armistice Day, Monday 11 November at 14h00 (CET) under the Menin Gate, in collaboration with Ypres City Council, the ‘Last Post’ Association, and the Belgian and British armies. The Menin Gate is a war memorial in Ypres dedicated to the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the city.
In the presence of HRH Duke of Edinburgh and HRH Prince Laurent from Belgium and other dignitaries from the UK and Belgium, the British and Belgian school children alongside British and Belgian soldiers will carry sandbags full of sacred soil to the Menin Gate. The Band of the Coldstream Guards, as well as soldiers and officers of the seven regiments of the British Guards and an entire gun crew of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery will all take part in the ceremony.
Mr Geert De Proost, Representative of the Government of Flanders to the UK commented; “We are proud to have Eurostar as one of the partners to the Flanders Field Memorial Garden project. The importance of these WW1 memorial projects and their role in reminding people around the world of the destruction and loss of life that result from wars is invaluable. We hope that by Eurostar carrying these British school children to Belgium to be part of the special remembrance ceremony, we will help more young people to understand the consequences of war.”
At the end of November, the Belgian Navy will take the sacred soil to London on the frigate F931 Louise-Marie. On 29 November, Tower Bridge will be opened with full honours and the Louise-Marie will dock alongside at the HMS Belfast. On 30 November, the soil of Flanders Fields will be handed over to The Royal Navy and subsequently to the British Army who will transport the soil to Wellington Barracks. The soil will be incorporated in to the Flanders Fields Memorial Garden before the official inauguration in the autumn of 2014.
Notes to Editors
For a full Flanders Field press pack, please contact Mr Geert De Proost, Representative of the Government of Flanders to the UK.
The School Children
The children aged between 9 and 18 are from 62 schools across the UK:
- Whitefield School, London
- Rosedale College, Hayes, Middlesex
- Harry Gosling Primary School, London
- Melcombe Primary, London
- Lathallan School, Montrose, Angus
- Monks Orchard Primary School, London
- Yehudin Menuhin School, Cobham, Surrey
- Langley Park School for Boys, Beckenham, Kent
- John Colet School, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
- Buxton School, London
- Dover College, Dover
- The Regis School, Regis West Sussex
- Dene Magna School, Mitcheldean, Gloucestershire
- Enfield County School, London
- St Bartholomew's School, Newbury, Berkshire
- Harris Academy Purley, Purley, Surrey
- The Albany, Hornchurch
- Woodside High School, London
- Broomfield School, London
- Langdon School, London
- Ruislip High School, London
- Highbury Fields School, London
- Eastbury Comprehensive School, Barking, Essex
- Norlington, London
- The Warwick School, Boys, Redhill, Surrey
- Wilson's School, Wallington, Surrey
- Crown Woods College, London
- The Norwood School, London
- Townley Grammar School, Bexleyheath, Kent
- Jubilee Primary School, London
- Cypress Primary School (Juniors) , London
- Harris Academy Bermondsey, London
- Denbigh High School, Luton
- St Marylebone School, London
- All Hallows Catholic School, Farnham, Surrey
- Beaverwood School for Girls, Chislehurst
- Ribston Hall High School,Gloucester
- Hendon School, London
- Valley Park School, Maidstone, Kent
- Northallerton College, Northallerton
- Newton Rigg College, Newton Rigg, Penrith
- Turnford School, Cheshunt
- The UCL Academy, London
- Northwood School, London
- Reed School, Cobham
- St Helena School, Colchester
- St. Mary's, Primary School, Knaresborough
- Darrick Wood School, London
- Nonsuch High School for Girls, London
- Miltoncross School, Porstmouth
- The Littlehampton Academy, Littlehampton, West Sussex
- John Hampden Grammar School, High Wycombe
- Testwood Sports College, Southampton
- The Harefield Academy, London
- Upper Shirley High School, Southampton
- St Philomenas Girls, Carshalton, Surrey
- Aldworth Science College, London
- King Harold, Waltham Abbey, Essex
- Ashurst Primary School, East Grinstead
- Ernesettle Community School, Plymouth, Devon
- The Clere School, Newbury, Berkshire
1. Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Paris, Avignon and the French Alps.
2. Eurostar was established in 1994 as a partnership between three railway companies: SNCF, SNCB and LCR (London and Continental Railways). On 1 September 2010, Eurostar became a single, unified corporate entity owned by three shareholders: SNCF, SNCB and LCR.
3. The current Eurostar train was first introduced into service in 1994 carrying 750 passengers and operating at speeds of up to 300kph. Since then, the fleet of 28 trains has carried more than 130 million passengers between London and the Continent. Following their refurbishment these trains will continue to form a core part of the Eurostar fleet.
4. Eurostar is a founder member of Railteam, a partnership between Europe’s leading high-speed train operators that is developing simpler ways to book and travel on the fast-expanding, European high-speed rail network.
5. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are entirely separate companies. Eurostar operates high-speed passenger trains, while Eurotunnel operates vehicle shuttle services and the Channel Tunnel itself. Eurostar is Eurotunnel’s biggest customer.