Former soldier from Dereham joins thousands from around the globe at historic pilgrimage
PUBLISHED: 14:30 06 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:16 06 August 2018
A former soldier is joining thousands of Armed Forces veterans from across the world to pay tribute at a historic pilgrimage of remembrance.
More than 2,200 members of The Royal British Legion, representing communities from across the globe, have travelled to France and Belgium this week to echo the way the Legion commemorated the 10th anniversary of the First World War in 1928.
One of the people attending the Great Pilgrimage 90 (GP90) to honour his great grandfathers is former corporal Liam Young, of Dereham.
Mr Young is the third generation in his family to serve in the military after joining the Army in 2002 to serve with the Light Dragoons. In 2007, while on tour in Afghanistan, he was injured and suffered long-term complications. He is now a Poppy Appeal organiser for the mid-Norfolk market town.
Both his great grandfather’s fought during the First World War, while his father served in the Paratroopers.
His biological great grandfather fought at the Battle of the Somme but died shortly afterwards from the effects of being gassed.
His great grandmother later remarried another soldier who survived the war and whose Legion badge and campaign medals Mr Young still has in his possession.
As well as attending the pilgrimage, he wants to ensure the next generation understand the importance of marking the centenary of the war.
He said: “I’ve got the kids from the local school to write up a poem to go on the card for the wreath that will be taken to the Menin Gate in Ypres for the pilgrimage and have worked with the teachers to devise an assembly that will address what 1918 means in 2018.”
The event will culminate with a two-mile march to Ypres’ Menin Gate, in Belgium, on Wednesday August 8 and will feature around 1,100 standard bearers and 1,100 wreath layers.
A service of commemoration will take place under the Gate and will include readings from the UK’s Ambassador to Belgium and the Archbishop of York, with hundreds of wreaths being laid containing messages written by school children from across the UK.
Norfolk County Chairman of the Legion, John Boisson, will also be in attendance.
Website marks centenary period of First World War
Gresham’s School, in Holt, announced in 2016 the launch of a newly created website - www.greshamsatwar.co.uk - dedicated to the Old Greshamians and staff that fought and died in the First World War.
Research for website was carried out by a group of Gresham’s School sixth form pupils.
The website, which has continued to be populated during the centenary period, has enabled the school to publish extensive First World War material, including original school registers and copies of school magazine.
Sixth form pupil, Maddie Bailey, said: “Researching the lives of the men who went to fight in the war has been inspiring and we have been truly moved to learn about the profound effect that the War has had on our school.”
Of 500 former pupils who served in the armed forces, at least 110 were killed, and three members of staff lost their lives.