Roberta McNally Lurgan & Brownlow Royal British Legion Chairman and George McNally standard bearer, were amongst 150 Royal British Legion representatives from Northern Ireland who attended a ceremony in Ypres Belgium to py tribute to those who paid the supreme sacrifice during the Great War.
Great Pilgrimage 90, which took place on August 8, saw a re-enactment of the pilgrimage made by our forefathers, veterans and widows, 90 years ago when they commemorated “100 days to victory”.
A total of 1,200 Royal British Legion Standards were on parade accompanied by 1,000 wreath layers.
Roberta said: “It was without doubt the most emotional event that I have every had the privilege of attending, when the standards were raised, grown men found it hard to control their emotions.
“On behalf of Lurgan & Brownlow RBL I would like to thank Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon council who sponsored the trip for those Legions who attended within ABC council area.
“I would also like to thank Lurgan College who compiled the message, on behalf of the people from greater Lurgan, which was attached to the wreath that I had the honour of laying at the Menin Gate Memorial.
“As custodians of Remembrance it is the duty of the RBL to lead the nation in acknowledging those who served our country during WW1, and to show our gratitude for the sacrifices they made.”
Whilst on the trip the Legion members toured the battlefields and Memorials in France and Belgium.
As Lurgan & Brownlow RBL prepare to add 207 names to the WW1 war memorial and 34 names to the WW2 memorial, Roberta said it was an opportunity for her and George to pay personal tribute to some of the men whose names are about to be added, who are commemorated at the Menin Gate Memorial Belgium and Tyne Cot Memorial in France.
“It was also very moving to be able to plant a cross at the graves of William McGaffin and William Watters who will soon be recognised on Lurgan’s Cenotaph.
“The whole experience is something we will never forget, it was an honour and a privilege to represent the people of Lurgan at such a prestigious event,” said Roberta.