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Islanders to attend Great Pilgrimage to Ypres

Two Scilly residents have been chosen to attend the Great Pilgrimage 90 at Ypres in August on behalf of the Royal British Legion.

Ian McCarthy-Lunn and PC Richard Wiltshire were commissioned to represent the islands' branch at a service at St Mary's Parish Church on July 15th, which also saw the dedication of the new Union Flag.

In 1928, the British Legion organised for veterans and war widows to visit the battlefields of the Somme and Ypres before marching to the Menin Gate in Ypres on August 8th.

Exactly 90 years later, Ian and Richard will join thousands of other British Legion representatives to recreate the 1928 Battlefields Pilgrimage. They will then parade their branch standard and a wreath along the same route to the Menin Gate for the One Hundred Days ceremony to commemorate the last 100 days of WW1 and "represent an entire generation that served while defending their country".

Ian, who spent 22 years in the RAF, said: "The British Legion sent out the information a year ago now and we presented it to the Committee for consideration. Richard and I were chosen as two willing and fit people who also had a bit of time off.

"Neither of us have been before and touring the battlefields is something we really wanted to do. I've been speaking to someone who's been there a few times and paraded and he said it is a very emotional event. It's something to look forward to and enjoy but also something we're going to be quite moved by."

Richard, who served in the RAF for 9 years, said: "There will be 2,200 on the march, but there are other agencies as well so there'll be 3-4,000 other people with us."

After the service, all the former servicemen present posed together for a photograph with some of the islands' cadets (below).


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