FENLAND: Veteran of 86 plays moving part in Menin Gate ceremony for British Legion
PUBLISHED: 17:09 25 June 2008 | UPDATED: 08:30 02 June 2010
D DAY Veteran George Church had the honour of playing a part in one of the daily remembrance ceremonies at the world famous Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing at Ypres, Belgium. Mr Church, 86, who is president of the March branch of the Royal British Legi
D DAY Veteran George Church had the honour of playing a part in one of the daily remembrance ceremonies at the world famous Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing at Ypres, Belgium.
Mr Church, 86, who is president of the March branch of the Royal British Legion recited the Exhortation and the Kohima Epitaph at the last post ceremony which is held at 8pm.
Awarded the Military Medal for his bravery at the D Day landings in June 1944, Mr Church of Stags Holt, said he was nervous but very proud.
He said: "There was a crowd of about 2,500 and lots of school children. I thought that it was not the time to forget my words although I do say the Exhortation at our Legion meetings. It is very moving and this is right at the top of the things I have done.
"I was very proud to honour the thousands who served their countries past and present. If we are to maintain our peace and freedom we must always remember."
The memorial contains the names of 54,896 officers and men from all the British and Commonwealth forces. From October 1914 the troops began to march through the Meenenpoorte gateway from Ypres onto the Menin Road to the First World War battlefields. The site was considered to be the most appropriate for a memorial to the missing British and Commonwealth soldiers.
Mr Church had been in Normandy for the commemoration of the anniversary of the Normandy landings on June 6 1944. A service was held at the Hertfordshire Memorial where he laid a wreath and recited the Exhortation.
He was among troops which landed at Gold Beach on D Day with the first wave of infantry.
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