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Remembrance – Ypres and the Menin Gate

Stuart Major, of Winlaton St Paul’s Lodge, headed out to Ypres to perform with the Massed Bands of the Pegasus Memorial, a band that continues the formal dress traditions of the bands that formally performed at the D-Day Commemorations, and thus Stuart was unable to wear his provincial collar. The members of this band travel and perform at their own expense, using holiday time from their jobs to travel and perform at these events. This was the first time the Massed Bands of the Pegasus Memorial have performed in Ypres.

The Massed Bands of the Pegasus Memorial performed at the Menin Gate Memorial for the Missing on Saturday 28th of October and Tyne Cot War Cemetery and Memorial for the Missing on Sunday 29th of October. In between these performances, Stuart provided some of the band with a battlefield tour. On Saturday 28th of October, during the battlefield tour, Stuart laid a wreath, which he had purchased, on behalf of Durham Freemasons at the Grave of Captain Robert William Pearson of Marquess of Ripon Lodge No. 1379. Captain Pearson was found for this tour, which Stuart had researched, by chance as he was listed as Durham Light Infantry and as a pre-war analytical chemist.

On the evening at the daily 8 p.m. Service, the Massed Bands of the Pegasus Memorial marched through the Menin Gate, to begin the service. During the service, Stuart fell out from the band and laid the Provincial Wreath at the Menin Gate. Stuart then fell back into the band before the return march to the Cloth Hall, which was destroyed in the fighting of 1914-18 and carefully rebuilt post war.

The Menin Gate Memorial for the Missing contains the names of the 54,583 men of the forces of the British Empire, who died in the Ypres Area, but, due to the circumstances of war, were not afforded a known burial. This is one such memorial of its kind on the Western Front. Of the cemeteries and memorials visited on this trip, there are 6 Durham Freemasons either buried or commemorated.

Menin Gate Memorial for the Missing

Private Robert Coyne 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, Marquess of Granby Lodge No. 124, Initiated 2nd October 1906, Died 29th October 1914.

Captain Frederick Wawn: 1st/7th Battalion Durham Light Infantry, Fenwick Lodge No. 1379, and Vedra Lodge No. 3137, Initiated 20th December 1901, Died 25th May 1915.

Ypres Reservoir Cemetery

Captain Robert Pearson: 5th Battalion Durham Light Infantry, Marquess of Ripon Lodge No. 1379, Initiated 5th March 1908, Died 15th May 1915.

Tyne Cot Memorial for the Missing

Corporal Ernest Walls: 17th Battalion Kings Royal Rifle Corps, Whitworth Lodge No. 1932, Initiated 10th July 1912, Died 18th April 1918.

Corporal Frederick Storey: 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders, Coronation Lodge No. 2929, Initiated 15th April 1914, ied 4th October 1917.

Ploegsteert Memorial for the Missing:

2nd Lieutenant George Borland: 9th Battalion Northumberland Hussars, Barnard Lodge No. 1230, Initiated 2nd December 1910,Died 4th April 1918.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

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