Our last day up here in Ieper. Has been an excellent stay and all we planned has been accomplished including the many individual cemetery visits. We leave tomorrow and head to Peronne in te Somme.
There was a huge Market Day in the square and our groups were enjoying their time there. Fruit and vegetables were worth viewing and many bought raspberries to take with them on the day. I will also say that when I went down for breakfast at 0710, I was alone as most were enjoying the Saturday morning sleep in!!
The programmed time to gather and start our day out on the battlefields was 1330 so plenty of time to enjoy a relaxed morning, however, at 1030 I gathered a few of our group and we headed West out towards Poperinge for 2 cemetery visits. Our Pipe Major, Frank, had a close friend at home who had a relative buried in Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery and as she would never travel here, Frank wanted to take a photo of the grave but we conducted a small Service and Frank played the Lament. Frank did get the photograph. Next we moved further West to Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery where we conducted a Service for a family member of Ross and Beverley O’Grady, William Layton, who was buried there. It was a most moving Service and Beverley was able to leave a photo of William against the Headstone.
Our next stop was at Poelcapelle Military Cemetery where Pte William Gordon war buried and we had his nephew, Jack Gwilym with us who wanted to pay his respects to an uncle he never knew. A Service was conducted and while Frank played a lament, Jack laid a poppy on the grave.
Our rendezvous with the coaches was Tyn Cot Cemetery so we headed there and met up with the band that was preparing to march onto the site before a Remembrance Service was conducted. Following a warm up of the Pipes, the band march onto the site and proceeded to a location at the front of the Remembrance stone. The following Service was held before many visitors to the cemetery and all were most impressed in what the band executed and were very pleased to be able to visit on such a special occasion. I returned to Ieper but the band proceeded to Paschendaele where they played outside the main church. This was significant as this church was the actual vital ground that the British Army was aiming to capture in Phase 1.
Home after that and to an impromptu recital in the street outside our hotel completed yet again a wonderful day.