Knaphill Scouts and District Explorers in Ypres

 

It was the early hours of Saturday morning that everyone got on the coach for Ypres, friends and family waved goodbye as we set off on an exciting journey. The coach journey was long but fun, we all sat with our friends, read exciting novels and listened to funky music until we arrived. When we got off the coach we grabbed our things and headed for the church where we were all meeting.

When we got to Ypres we went to a place called “In Flanders Fields Museum.” We got wrist watches which would activate any of the interactive things in the museum. There were loads of exhibits in the museum, like model mini trenches, which showed you what it was like, videos of what it was like during the war and clothes and weapons from that time. After the amazing journey to the museum we went to find a restaurant to eat in, once we found one we sat down and ordered our meal, they were delicious!

Then it was time for the first event of the weekend “The Last Post Association” evening service and parade, it was spectacular!!! I carried our flag and one of the other scouts, Dominic, laid our wreath of poppies. We all marched into the Menin Gate, where all of the soldier’s names that had died in battle but their bodies were not found were written on the walls. There was loads of music and speeches and it was all just amazing! That was surly a night to remember. After the parade we all had a wander around and when we were done, it was on to the coach again and off to our dormitories. They were huge!!! Triple bunk beds, so soft and all ready made, oh it was lovely.

The next morning we got up, brushed our teeth and got dresses into our uniforms again. Then it was off to the Remembrance Poppy Parade, with even more people, even more music and even more cameras, we felt like movie stars! Oh it was spectacular!!! We then paraded to outside the Menin Gate whilst Prince Phillip of Belgium made a speech and all the soldiers marched past, the ceremony ended with poppy leaves falling from the ceiling, then we paraded back to the church to be dismissed.

At the end of the parade it was picture time, we had our picture taken many times. With all our stuff already on the coach we were back on and heading home, we had a short stop at an old World War One trench, it was so deep and so narrow and then it was back on the coach, it was the most moving Remembrance Weekend ever!!

By Joshua (1st Knaphill Scouts)

It felt astonishing parading into Menin Gate with hundreds of people observing me in the solemn atmosphere. My heart thumped as I marched through Menin Gate and up the steps to where the wreaths were going to be laid later. We watched as the parade went marching on through the centre of the gate until they had all finished. There were a few speeches then finally the first wreath got laid, There were loads of people laying wreaths; maybe even hundreds. It was raining the whole ceremony; the wind was blasting at me like a hurricane. Once the final wreath got laid the flagbearers paraded out and we followed out immediately behind.

In the morning we met a few roads away from Menin Gate, and paraded towards Menin Gate. It felt like we were some sort of celebrities as everyone was watching us and crowding around the gates or perching on their windowsills. When we reached Menin Gate we took a right turn and stood in the road for the ceremony. It was even chillier than the night before. I wore an extra layer but it still felt chillier than the night before. I couldn’t see everything from the angle we stood at, but I did see them drop thousands of poppy petals from the roof of the gate, which I thought was a marvellous ending. A couple of minutes after that we paraded back.

Overall I had an amazing experience in Belgium, and will never forget it. I am extremely glad I went.

By Nathan (1st Knaphill Scouts)