THE YPRES TIMES 147 pilgrims who have joined the League as a mark of appreciation of his efforts to make their visits to the cemeteries and battlefields a success. With regard to the work of the London County Committee, the Chairman commented on the increase in attendances at the monthly informal gatherings, and the hard work of the Committee in general and of their indefatigable secretary. Mr. John Boughey, in particular, who was mainly responsible for the organization of the concert. They were honoured in having in their midst that evening the President of the League, Field-Marshal Lord Plumer, a soldier who has such a fine record in South Africa, Italy, Belgium and France. Lord Plumer then rose and said Your Excellency, My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen. Speeches are not part of the programme to-night, but I respond to the invitation of Major Montague Jones to say a few words to you. It gives me the opportunity of saying how interesting was the statement he made to us all, and of expressing to him as President of the League, and on behalf of all the members, our appreciation of the fine work that has been done by him and the Committee of the London Branch. We know how greatly it has added to the League, to its improvement and to its value, and not the least of the service he and his Committee have rendered has been the organization of annual reunions, which have done so much and will continue to do so much to get us all together. It may seem a little incongruous that the Ypres League, whose object is primarily to perpetuate the memory of the sacrifices on the Salient, should have a musical entertainment of this kind. I do not think it is incongruous. Not the least of the services rendered in the Salient was done by those who by their efforts maintained their cheerfulness right through and thereby contributed to our final success, and it must be remembered that the final note was one of triumph when we realize that this time ten years ago there was not the slightest chance of the town of Ypres falling into the hands of the enemy. We are honoured to-night with the presence of the representatives of Belgium and France. They are thereby indicating that they are fully in sympathy with the aims of the League and they are only too anxious to join in a gathering which has for its object the furtherance of these aims. We know the Belgian Ambassador has every intention of continuing the help which his predecessor so generously gave us, and we are very grateful to him for his presence to-night. The objects of the League are well known to you all. But I need your special efforts to reinforce the Junior Division, because we do not wish the League to cease to exist even when the youngest of those who served in the Salient has passed away. The Junior Division was formed, four years ago, by the late beloved Field-Marshal who took his title from the town of Ypres. We know that he was the inspiration of the League. I trust that his successor, who bears his title now, will follow in his footsteps by identifying himself closely with this Junior Section and doing all he can to support it. Ladies and gentlemen, you are all familiar with the motto of the League, Lest we forget.' We mean to organize this League- in such a way that not only in 1928 but in 1938 and 1948 and succeeding years the answering cry shall be, We have not forgotten and we will never forget.' (Loud applause.) I have much pleasure in reading this telegram by His Majesty the King, in reply to a telegram sent by us in which we assured him, after giving him our respectful greetings, of the loyalty of every man and woman that belonged to this League. His reply is as follows I have received with much pleasure your message from those present at the Annual Reunion of the London Branch of the Ypres League. As Patron-in-Chief I sincerely thank them for their loyal assurances, and am glad to hear you can report a record gathering this evening. (Signed) George R.I.' The London Committee claim to be the originators of community singing so far as the old war-time songs are concerned, and, as usual, this was one of the principal items in the programme. Under the able leadership of Mr. C. Mann, of the Daily Express, the marching and camp fire songs of the old and new armies went with a swing, raising memories which help so much towards the spirit of comradeship for which the League is always striving. The Daily Express very kindly supplied several hundred copies of their community song leaflet free of charge, an aid which was greatly appreciated. The interval ranks with community singing in popularity, as it gives the opportunity of meeting friends, and Lord Plumer had many chats with men who had served under him, and he himself renewed one or two old acquaintanceships. The proceedings closed reluctantly, as usual, and everyone expressed the hope that next year's concert might be even a greater success. The London Committee are on their mettle, and will do their best.


The Ypres Times (1921-1936) | 1929 | | pagina 21