On Wednesday, 1st Westbury Guides and 7th Exmouth Scouts headed to Ypres and the surrounding area. This area is steeped in history and the region is currently in the spotlight due to the 100 Year Anniversary of the start Battle of Passchendaele. This was one of the bloodiest campaigns in the first world war with thousands of men left wounded or dead and was by and large unsuccessful. As well as the day being very interesting, it was incredibly moving and I’m sure a day that will be remembered by all for a very long time.
We started the day with a visit to the In Flanders Field Museum in Ypres. Built in the old cloth hall, it is as impressive on the outside as it is on the inside! It is always enjoyed by the groups. This interactive museum is full of information about the war in the local area as well as having many hundreds of artefacts. After we had had our fill of knowledge for the moment we headed to Leonidas chocolate shop where, judging by the bulging bags that came out after, the groups took full advantage of the special offers on!
From here we headed to Hill 62 which houses an impressive collection of war time memorabilia and photos. If you head outside you can also see an original trench, still surrounded by pot holes and exploded trees. Next was a visit to the Tyne Cot Cemetery, where nearly 12000 soldiers who died in the Ypres area are buried so it’s always a highly emotional and deeply moving visit. 7th Exmouth Scouts brought several remembrance crosses which had messages on from members of the public and the troop which they then placed at graves.
After a spot of dinner we headed to the Menin Gate for the famous 8 o’clock last post ceremony. Here, representatives from both group took part and laid a wreath in remembrance for those who fell in WW1. Both groups were outstanding today and did UK Guiding and Scouting proud.