130 THE YPRES TIMES AMID the ceaseless roar of the traffic flowing on either side of the Cenotaph, the anniversary of the First Battle of Ypres was again commemorated on October 31st with an impressive simplicity and a reverence in keeping with the austere dignity of the monument and all that it symbolises of heroism and sacrifice. Two hundred and fifty thousand Britons laid down their lives in the Salient. It was to render tribute to these men who held the line that members of the Ypres League, in conjunction with a uniformed contingent of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, had assembled. Every year public interest in the ceremony increases. Men in mufti, whose rows of medals testified to their service, and women whose near relatives are buried in the Salient, stood in serried ranks on both sides of the pavement in Whitehall, where they watched the ceremony in sympathetic silence. At 3.45 p.m. Princess Beatrice arrived, and was received by Field-Marshal Lord Plumer of Messines, President of the League. A beautiful wreath, composed of cornflowers, white chrysanthemums, Madonna lilies and pink and white carnations, with a broad blue riband bearing the inscription in gold lettering From the Ypres League1914-1918," was handed by Lord Plumer to Her Royal Highness, who laid it on the Cenotaph on behalf of all members of the League. Another wreath was then handed to her by General Sir Robert D. Whigham, Colonel of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, which formed the guard of honour. After this wreath, which was composed of Flanders poppies, had been laid, officers and men stood for a moment at the salute. The Ypres League wreath was borne by Lieut. Michael O'Leary, V.C., late of the Connaught Rangers. It will be recalled that Lieut. O'Leary won his V.C. at Cambrin in 1915, while serving with the Irish Guards. Among those present were Lady Plumer, the Belgian Ambassador, Comman dant d'Epinay, M.C. (representing the French Embassy), Lieut.-General Sir William Pulteney, Lieut.-General Sir Herbert Uniacke, the Dowager Lady Ypres, Lord and Lady Ypres, members of the Executive Committee and Capt. G. E. de Trafford (Secretary). At the conclusion of the ceremony at the Cenotaph, Princess Beatrice, accompanied by those who were present, proceeded to Westminster Abbey and laid a further emblem on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr. Foxley Norris, D.D., conducted a service and delivered a short address. It is my privilege," he said, to offer to Your Royal Highness, the gratitude so widely felt for the act of love which you have now done on behalf, not only of the Ypres League, but of the whole Empire. This day is the anniversary of that great crisis when our line was re-established and the fate of the Salient was decided. Memory is short. The ceaseless stream of events flows on. A generation is already growing up to whom the war is but a matter of history. The League, which has been so wisely formed, is of inestimable value to keep green in our minds and hearts the deeds of those men who in those terrible days passed the highest test of human courage, and with their own lives saved their country. "To those of us who lost our dearest and best in the war, these commemora tion days will always be precious and sacred, and we are thankful to know that in the well-cared-for burial grounds, in that splendid monument the Menin Gate, and in the British Church at Ypres, are reminders which will stand for all time. The fabric of that church is built; but a large sum is still required for its completion. And the Army Commander who was directly responsible during the defence of Ypres has made the scheme his special care. Your Royal Highness will, I know, allow me to make it known to all whom my words to-day in any way may reach,


The Ypres Times (1921-1936) | 1929 | | pagina 4