Dorset Veterans Embark On New Mission
8:48am 10th June 2013
Dorset veterans are embarking on a new mission today - they're setting off on a battle field tour of Belgium.
The party of 55 former soldiers are from the Devon and Dorset Regimental Association.
They've been asked to lay the first wreath at the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres, which is a memorial to more than 54,000 commonwealth soldiers whose bodies were never recovered.
Their battlefield tour will include a visit to the infamous Hill 60 where 1st Dorsets were gassed in May 1915 and to Ploegsteert (known affectionately among the soldiers at the time as Plug Street Wood) - the area where the famous Christmas Truce football match was played and close to where Winston Churchill commanded a WW1 battalion.
Major Nick Speakman, who's organised the trip, told Wessex FM what the trip would mean to those going, "A lot of them will have family associations with those who fought in the First War. So yes, it's going to be really exciting and at times quite moving."
He continued to say how pleased he was that they could lay the first wreath, "That's a peculiar honour, and we're very proud to be able to do that. It's on behalf of all Dorsets who fought in World War One. We're remembering what our fore fathers did and showing that the present members are concerned and remember what our fore fathers did on our behalf."