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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

British Legion Pilgrimage 1928


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Interesting topic ! Were these visits from the british veterans to France and Belgium common ? And was there always a commemorative book like the one showed in this topic ? I can remember a picture of the last 'old contemptibles' in the 90s in Belgium so I suppose that at least a few of them made the travel once a year for an important date.

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They were not annual events due to cost as much as anything else.

The 1928 Pilgrimage is known as the "Great" Pilgrimage for good reason - it consisted of 11,000 pilgrims and was organised with literally military precision.

Other smaller organisations also organised pilgrimages - a good book to get a bit of extra information on this subject is "Battlefield Tourism 1919-1939" by David W Lloyd (Berg 1998)

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Lovely perspective pic of Ancre cemetery with the Thiepval Ridge and Tower in background.

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Yes. These photos are quite interesting to compare to the present.

Berg's book is definitely on my list to purchase.

Will Bird also wrote an interesting account of his personal return to the battlefields which i believe is still in print. (should have bought it when i read it a few years back at Chapters!)

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I recall seeing a copy of the British Legion Pilgrimage Book 1928 years ago - its full of material you may find a copy through the second hand book dealer net work.

I've just acquired an original copy of this book from the same source as the photos. It's a bit fragile so am carefully transcribing it (as in scanning the pages). Seems like different regions had slightly different itineraries. e.g. the East Midlands were destined for Valenciennes.

Just go back from holiday so will get back to it a.s.a.p.


post-37838-090214400 1284558267.jpg

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  • 3 years later...

I know it's an old thread, but I thought it appropriate to add my "piece" here......

Party "O" being the Scottish one.

Anyone know if the British Legion hold archive/info. on this trip ?

i..e might I be able to find out who wore this armband, for (maybe) being in charge of Co.5 ??


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  • 4 years later...

Does anyone have any photographs of the 1928 pilgrimage made by men of the 21st KRRC my locally raised battalion ? Thanks

Edited by Rodge Dowson
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  • 1 year later...

Hi Graham 

I have just finished transcribing part of a diary from the British Legion pilgrimage. I also believe based on what I have read that the boxes on the ground are from the packed lunched the pilgrims were given.

I have no idea who wrote the diary but I know they were in E train party which was organised by Captain Slater, East Midland Area.

My diarist describes a Rev W, Greenhalgh who was a jolly good sport and seems to have led a lot of singing. My writer also seemed to enjoy the food and describes what was in the boxes.

Hope this is helpful



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