Royal British Legion members from the Newtown, Welshpool, Llandinam and Churchstoke branches will travel to Belgium and France for the charity’s Great Pilgrimage 90 in August.

They will join thousands at a remembrance event in Ypres at the charity’s largest event in its history.

Great Pilgrimage 90 (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.

Local Legion members Phil Davies and D Arfon Williams will represent the Newtown and District Branch, Dave Woozencraft and Kath Woozencraft will represent Welshpool, Mark Gore and Jan Gore will represent Llandinam, as will Gareth Pennell and Jan Pennell for Churchstoke and the local community at the event, as the standard bearers and the wreath layers respectively.

They 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 August 8, bearing their branch standards and wreaths.

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. At the Menin Gate, they will lay a wreath on behalf of the branches of Montgomeryshire.

Gareth Pennell, The Royal British Legion membership support officer for South East Wales, said: “The legion is the custodian of the remembrance in the UK so this encompasses and embodies everything that the legion stands for.”

D Arfon Williams, chairman of the Newtown and District Branch, said: “It’s important because there are hardly any First World War veterans still alive, and this is to commemorate a pilgrimage that they did in 1928 to pay their respects to those who never returned.”

County Times:

D Arfon Williams of the Newtown and District Branch with Ysgol Dafydd Llwyd pupils.

School children from Ysgol Dafydd Llwyd in Newtown and the primary schools of Welshpool have written messages on the wreaths that will be placed in Ypres. 

Ysgol Dafydd Llwyd headteacher, Sian Davies, said: “Pupils of Year Six felt it an honour and a privilege to create a message to take to Ypres. 

“The message conveys how thankful this generation is of how brave the soldiers were in the First World War and the hope of peace for the future. 

“The school felt so proud that a message written in Welsh will be displayed for all corners of the world to see,” said Sian Davies