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John_Hartley

Menin Gate - quiet nights?

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John_Hartley

This is possibly one for Jacky P.

Just planning my next trip to Ieper and it got me wondering.

The four nights I've been to the ceremony in the past, it's been absolutely packed with people. But are there ever times of the year when it's just the buglers and, perhaps, a handful of local people?

John

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Guest Russell.Gore@crawley.gov.uk

Hi there,re quiet nights,i have found that most week day nights in the Wintertime are very quiet,failing that Christmas eve and Christmas Day are always quiet,i have done the last three xmasses out Belgium....Church service at St.Georges Chapel on Christmas Day is very moving and well worth the visit....Best Regards Russell.

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kissack

We visited Ypres briefly during our tour of Pas de Calais in 2003 - Sadly, I have to admit, we didnt visit the Menin Gate itself. We will rectify that next time, but are you saying that there is a ceremony every single day?

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Aurel Sercu
but are you saying that there is a ceremony every single day?

Yes, since 1928 (or is it 1927 Jacky ?), with the exception of WW2 until Ypres was liberated in Sept. 1944.

Today the 26,100th day. (That what their homepage says.)

Aurel

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Guest Russell.Gore@crawley.gov.uk

yup every night without fail at eight o clock continental time,this has only ever been interupted by WW2 when Belgium was under German occupation.

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KONDOA

John,

Midweek nights away from big ceromonies and holiday periods have always been special. A really lovely experience.

Roop

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Jacky Platteeuw

A simple question but almost an impossible one to answer. One could expect that during winter time there is less people, which is the case. However it is still realistic to say that there are, in average, around 50 people attending the Last Post Ceremony. The days of 2 buglers, 2 policemen and 2 people attending are long gone. However it is still possible as I whitnessed a few times to be there with 'only' 10 people present but this is really very exceptional.

Jacky

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kissack

I will be there next time I am visiting. But isnt it encouraging to read, here, that it is NOT a quite event? If people are there in numbers each and every day then surely the sacrifice of our families is being remembered and (I hope) learned from

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KONDOA

Thats a good observation Kissack, because when I was younger there were times when my father and I and maybe a handful of "old" people were the only audience. Never fails to move me . however, just a little less private.

Roop

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John_Hartley

Jacky and others - Thanks for the info.

John

(PS: - Jacky - apologies for typing your name wrongly in the original post. My mind wandered. Or was it my fingers. Anyway I've now amended it)

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kissack

Aurel

what is the url of the menin gate webpage?

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charlotte cardoen-descamps

Kissack,

You can visit the website of the Last Post Committee on

http://www.lastpost.be/index.asp

When hitting "calendar" you will get a list with all the special occasions (wreath layings) during a choosen month.

Best wishes,

Charlotte

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Guest bonza

G'day

Is it true that a local lady attends almost every ceremony. Apparently she walks up. places her folding chair and 'remembers".

Pat

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KONDOA

Never seen it but dont dispute it.

Roop

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Guest Russell.Gore@crawley.gov.uk

:)

Been visiting Ypres for the last 20 years,have never come across the old girl with the chair.I took a small party to the Gate last Month and one old Gentleman who was with me was very overcome as he had finally found his long lost Brothers Name on the R.Sussex Panel,no one in the Family ever mentioned the Brother..they simply said that he had been taken by the War.This certainly was the outstanding point of our visit,as nobody from the old Mans family had ever wanted or tried to find out what had happened to him,and at last there was a final closure.The old Gentleman was astounded by the size of the Gate and the amount of unknowns,also he was very impressed by the Belgian Beer and the friendly Belgian people he met.

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Jacky Platteeuw
Is it true that a local lady attends almost every ceremony. Apparently she walks up. places her folding chair and 'remembers

Pat,

Indeed it is true. Quiet a story!!!

She was born in Rugby (UK) as a child of a couple of Belgian refugees. Here mother died when she was only 6 weeks old. She came back after the war to Ieper and she was present at the unveiling of the Menin Gate on 24 April 1927. Since then she is the most regular visitor of the Last Post Ceremony. Years she has come almost every day but lately, due to a fracture of the shoulder and because of the weather becoming colder, she isn't coming that regularly anymore. However, because she loves music and the Ceremony, one of the buglers sometimes goes to her house, only a few metres from the Menin Gate, gets her folding chair and arm in arm they come to attend. Heartwarming view in the times we are living!!!!!!!

Jacky

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ianw

Jacky,

I saw this lady the last time I visited 6 weeks ago. What a nice story.

My Grandfather attended the opening ceremony to remember his brother and comrades. The staggering continuity of the ceremony since then is a tremendous tribute to the people of Ypres. When I am there, I regard myself as directly linked to my Grandfather and Great Uncle - and by extension feel very close to my mother and other relatives.

Jacky arranged for me to read The Exhortation at the ceremony several years ago. I can honestly say that this was one of the proudest moments of my life.

To a degree the ceremony itself stands above the actual context of the individual night when you are present. Those where veterans have been present - like Arthur Halestrap in 2003 are indeed very special, but the Gate and the buglers will be there on that filthy night in January or whenever. A very comforting thought.

A big Thank you to Ypres and its citizens - and particularly Jacky, of course.

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stevew
Is it true that a local lady attends almost every ceremony. Apparently she walks up. places her folding chair and 'remembers

Pat,

Indeed it is true. Quiet a story!!!

She was born in Rugby (UK) as a child of a couple of Belgian refugees. Here mother died when she was only 6 weeks old. She came back after the war to Ieper and she was present at the unveiling of the Menin Gate on 24 April 1927. Since then she is the most regular visitor of the Last Post Ceremony. Years she has come almost every day but lately, due to a fracture of the shoulder and because of the weather becoming colder, she isn't coming that regularly anymore. However, because she loves music and the Ceremony, one of the buglers sometimes goes to her house, only a few metres from the Menin Gate, gets her folding chair and arm in arm they come to attend. Heartwarming view in the times we are living!!!!!!!

Jacky

I have seen the old lady...............on my last visit back in July I noticed she wasn't in her normal place, it's good to know her story and it's even better knowing she is still attending the Last Post

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Guest bonza

Thanks Jacky.

I have had only one visit to the Salient but made it to the ceremony about 6 times during that couple of weeks. On my last night a Brit pointed her out to me; he said she had been there on each of his visits, but didn't know the story. So now we do!

Good luck to her!

Pat

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Guest scarletto

Saw her in 2002, loved the place, stayed at the saladin hotel? if i remember in the main square, found a lovely bar off the main track, where we had an interesting discussion with some police who used the place after finishing shift, outcome, next day one of them took us around the local sights, and gave us an interesting talk on the area.

Found everyone there very friendly, lovely beer, great chocolate too, found the gate very, how can i say haunting at 4am in the morning, when all was quiet.

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Guest bonza
found the gate very, how can i say haunting at 4am in the morning, when all was quiet.

But have you seen the Menin Gate at Midnight?

VIEW MENIN GATE

The origional is displayed in a special alcove within the AWM. The lighting adds to the eerieness and givesya goosebumps.

post-12-1099842646.jpg

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Guest Russell.Gore@crawley.gov.uk

re the picture i do not know the artists name,but i heard tell that he actually had a vision of Allied Dead massing at the Menin Gate and felt compelled to set it down on canvas,he kept the picture at home but was later persuaded to give it to the AWM. :ph34r:

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Guest Russell.Gore@crawley.gov.uk

P.S. does any one out there remember the Bar opposite the Gate on the Town side,had some good times in their with the Cops and the Buglers,only Bottled Beer if i am correct,it is now sadly a rather swanky shoe shop.

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Guest Hill 60

One of my favourite poems relates to the Menin Gate:

"What are you guarding, Man-at-Arms?

Why do you watch and wait?"

"I guard the graves," said the Man-at-Arms,

"I guard the graves by Flanders Farms,

Where the dead will rise at my call to arms,

And march to the Menin Gate."

"When do they march then, Man-at-Arms?

Cold is the hour and late."

"They march tonight," said the Man-at-Arms,

"With the moon on the Menin Gate.

They march when the midnight bids them go,

With their rifles slung and their pipes aglow,

Along the roads - the roads they know,

The road to the Menin Gate."

"What are they singing, Man-at-Arms

As they march to the Menin Gate?"

"The marching songs," said the Man-at-Arms,

"That let them laugh at Fate;

No more will the night be cold for them,

For the last tattoo has rolled for them;

And their souls will sing as of old for them,

As they march to the Menin Gate."

I have stood at the Menin Gate and read this to myself (I don't like public speaking) and found it quite moving.

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paul guthrie

I too was priviliged to recite the Exhortation during our WFA USA trip last year. I was happy to get through it without breaking down, it's pretty emotional. I have seen the ceremony about 15 times, some wonder why we go every night we are there.

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