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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Menin Gate


Len Trim
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Off on Thursday with my annual party of pupils and staff from Crieff High School to the Somme and then to Ypres. Just wondered what size the crowds are at the Menin Gate ceremony just now.

Len

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There are three other schools, numerous associations and foundations and a choir attending that night - so I suspect it will be very busy

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Thanks for the reply. I will do my best to tear them away from their chicken and chips and get them there by 7.30pm.

Len

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Len

I was there last Monday and compared to my last visit I thought it was very quiet, only about three deep managed to get someone who had never been before in the very front.

I suppose a lot depends on just how many coaches turn up.

Have a great trip

Malcolm

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When I visited the meningitis gate during basic training in 2008 I can remember the crowds being too big, however because of the somme celebrations thus year I can only anticipate larger crowds than normal

Daz

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  • 3 weeks later...

From my recent experience it's all a bit 'hit and miss'; on a Saturday evening the Gate was heaving with visitors, yet the following night was notably quiet

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The Autocorrect Demon strikes again. We participated in the Last Post Ceremony on the equivalent evening on our last two school tours and in October 2015 the crowd was definitely smaller than the year before. However, it was still a change from the 'turn up at quarter to eight and pick your spot' days of fifteen years ago. One summer in the early 2000s I even witnessed a 'non-special' where there were no wreath layings etc and the buglers simply sounded Last Post and retired. Someone in the crowd said: 'Is that all there is to it?'

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As it turned out the ceremony was busy but the crowds were not too bad. We were in position for 7.30 and most of my pupils and colleagues had a good view. Four of my pupils were in school uniform and two in ATC uniform and they laid two wreaths. A very impressive ceremony with many wreaths laid and a good choir as well.

Although I hope to be at the Menin Gate many more times in the future this will be my last time as guide and mentor to the pupils of my former school, Crieff High School, as I have been retired for four years now and feel it is time to leave the trips in the more than capable hands of my younger colleagues.

Len

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Just a thought.

How long are the wreaths left, and what happens to them? Also the cards/small plaques etc?

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  • 1 month later...

There were some very big crowds during our latest visit in late July, although not quite as large as those we encountered in the summer of 2014. Moving ceremonies, on the whole but there were some alarming instances of the 'Menin Gate's Got Talent' syndrome. No names, no pack drill but it did lead us to nominate the naffest, vaguely relevant songs we could think of to sing at the 'Last Post' ceremony. The winners were 'Billy, Don't be a Hero' (Paper Lace 1974) and 'War' ( Edwin Starr 1969).

On a serious note, it was nice to see the Church Lads and Girls, with their excellent band, paying tribute to 16th KRRC on Saturday evening. 

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