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Remembered Today:

REMEMBRANCE AT THE MENIN GATE


Greg Bloomfield
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I'm not sure if this is the correct place to post so please forgive if it's not.

We're off to the above this year for our first foreign Remembrance. Do many Brits attend the Menin Gate on the day and if so are blazers and medals usually worn? I would assume the crowd is a big one for the occasion so what would be the best time to get there to be able to get a good view of the ceremony?

Greg

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First of all, when are you going? If it's a big anniversary, then the crowds will be very big' if it's not a specific anniversary, then the crowds will be smaller, but still probably quite big. I'd say that the latest you want to get to the Gate will be 7.00pm if you want a good view. Information on what's happening on the date of your visit can be found on the Last Post Association web site - http://www.lastpost.be/en/index/index/slug/home.

Regarding what to wear, it's entirely up to you. Personally, (and especially if I was laying a wreath) I'd wear appropriate dress and (if relevant) medals, but a lot of people don't dress up especially for the occasion.

I haven't been to the Gate this year, so doubtless other Forum Pals will be able to help with a more up to date view. Anyway, enjoy the visit.

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From recent experience, getting there at about mid-afternoon might be wise ...

Seriously, the last couple of times I've been there it's been a bear garden, so arrive early. The crowds seem to assemble ages before kick-off, so stake our claim. As The Scorer says, it can also depend on what is going on: any special commemorations are going to send numbers right through the roof.

I wore blazer (no medals, sadly), and quite a few other people did. You could take The Scorer's suggestion and wear an appropriate dress, but nothing too strappy or revealing, and make sure you shave your legs. :whistle:

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Me and my sister were there for the 29,959th Last Post and even though it got busy in the last half hour before kick off, I think we were among the very first ones to grab a spot and we got there at 6.30 and we stood right next to the part where the wreath layers walk from, so we had a cracking view of them, and also a clear view of the buglers.

DSCF1499_zpstrg5gmus.jpg

We stood where the man in blue is stood, right on the post, front right.

Further views from that point to follow:

DSCF1517_zpsgshzxuhc.jpg

DSCF1519_zps9p3ifscc.jpg

DSCF1529_zpsxxbg9z56.jpg

DSCF1531_zpshhu0xwa4.jpg

You can see how busy it eventually became by the crowds, but this was on a Suturday.

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You could take The Scorer's suggestion and wear an appropriate dress, but nothing too strappy or revealing, and make sure you shave your legs. :whistle:

Have a care, sir .... my solicitors (Messrs Sue, Grabbit and Run) will call upon you immediately if you don't withdraw that remark!!

:angry2::)

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I cannot stand for long periods these days so, the last couple of visits, I've arrived about 7.45.

Now, of course, arriving at that time, you're at the back of a big crowd and pretty much see nothing but I'm content to have been present and paid my respects (even though, at times, I feel I'm at some tourist event, rather than a solemn remembrance).

Last trip, we deliberately picked our days so we could attend the monthly ceremony at Ploegsteert. Hardly a tourist there but well attended by local Francophones. I toy with the idea, for future trips, of just coming here and giving the Menin Gate a miss completely.

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Thanks for the replies lads, I meant we shall be there for Remembrance Day on 8th November. From what I've understood from this though a good couple of hours beforehand might be an idea.

And Steve, I shave my legs for no man. My hirsuteness enhances the look of my mini and fishnets.

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I say - do send photographs.

And remember to emblazon your blazer with the date and venue. It does make it easier when rifling through the photographs in a few years' time.

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Greg, wear your medals with pride .....weekends are usually busier of course.

As has already been said get their early and stake your claim...............look for the round circle on the ground and that is where the buglars usually stand to get you some perspective................

You can get in really close like this.......................... :thumbsup:

post-91995-0-46533600-1439425016_thumb.j

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Thanks for the replies lads, I meant we shall be there for Remembrance Day on 8th November. From what I've understood from this though a good couple of hours beforehand might be an idea.

And Steve, I shave my legs for no man. My hirsuteness enhances the look of my mini and fishnets.

In Belgium Remembrance Day is 11th of November, not the nearest Sunday

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It is, of course known as "Armistice Day." There is no Remembrance Day in Belgium, or France.

I much prefer the Belgium version, being in their country - Wapenstilstandsdag. The literal translation being far more poignant too.

To get back to original posters question about attending the equivalent of Remembrance Sunday, and expecting a Service at 11.00 am under the Gate, there does not appear to being anything happening at 11.00 am at the moment according to the Last Post website, however that may change if any VIP's come over from the UK. It has happened in the past, but then the whole of the square can get roped out due to security, so access it restricted.

The crowds are such that if you wish to stand under the Gate you might need to be there 2 hours before.

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I was there a couple of years ago on what was Remembrance Sunday in the UK and I think there was some sort of service at the Gate, but later in the afternoon rather than at 1100.

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It's just as well I asked the question then! We could have been stood there on the 8th at 1100 expecting a big do and been all alone.

Thankfully we shall still be there on the 11th (just) so we'll be able to attend.

Thanks to all who have responded.

Greg

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Greg

I don't know for sure if it happens every year, only that it did last time I was there on that day. I'm sure the Last Post Association could tell you if anything is planned for this year. But don't worry if there's nothing formal happening, Ypres is always a poignant and thought provoking place to be.

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  • 3 months later...

Try to go during the school holidays as well, still crowded but not as bad and a little more about remembrance rather than having mobile phones stuffed in your face as they try to video it.

Andy

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I've said this - or something like it - before.

40 or 50 years ago, you could go along (when there was no special occasion) and maybe find two or three other people there. Sometimes you were alone.

And yet still the policeman halted the traffic, and still the bugler sounded the call.

Somehow there was a huge amount of dignity; no playing to the crowds, because there weren't any. Just a simple act of remembrance and thanks by local people.

Is it better, now that there seem to be nightly crowds ?

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An Australian lady visitor attended the ceremony on Tuesday evening. She arrived at 7.30pm and she was the only one there! By 8.00pm she had counted about 70 in total. I am presuming the terrorist activities in Belgium are slowing down the number of foreign visitors.

Bob

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An Australian lady visitor attended the ceremony on Tuesday evening. She arrived at 7.30pm and she was the only one there! By 8.00pm she had counted about 70 in total. I am presuming the terrorist activities in Belgium are slowing down the number of foreign visitors.

Bob

Completely understandable in my view.

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I've said this - or something like it - before.

40 or 50 years ago, you could go along (when there was no special occasion) and maybe find two or three other people there. Sometimes you were alone.

And yet still the policeman halted the traffic, and still the bugler sounded the call.

Somehow there was a huge amount of dignity; no playing to the crowds, because there weren't any. Just a simple act of remembrance and thanks by local people.

Is it better, now that there seem to be nightly crowds ?

I recall the first time I went, in 1983. It was deserted. In answer to your question: no. Waterloo Station at 8.15 on a weekday morning is more peaceful.

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I recall the first time I went, in 1983. It was deserted. In answer to your question: no. Waterloo Station at 8.15 on a weekday morning is more peaceful.

I must have been there the same year. I felt sorry for the buglers, who outnumbered the people watching.

Roel

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Indeed. And no-one had an iPad to film it on. Amazing times.

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