Glenrothes veterans complete World War One pilgrimage

The parade in YpresThe parade in Ypres
The parade in Ypres
Two veterans have returned to Glenrothes after completing a tour of remembrance to World War I cemeteries and battlefields in France and Belgium.

Neil Finlayson and Ron Smith were among dozens of representatives of the Royal British Legion Scotland who attended the Great Pilgrimage 90 (GP90).

The pilgrimage retraced the steps of 11,000 World War I veterans and widows involved in the original pilgrimage in 1928.

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The pilgrimage culminated with a parade through Ypres to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Menin Gate Memorial for a ceremony to mark the launch of the Hundred Day Offensive.

Mr Finlayson, branch manager, said: “The Glenrothes branch proudly represented the people of Glenrothes at a unique occasion, where we carried our standards and wreaths with our comrades from around the world to commemorate the last 100 days of World War I.”

The occasion was the biggest membership event in the Royal British Legion’s history, as more than 2200 representatives and dignitaries from the UK, Commonwealth and northern Europe took part.

The pilgrimage is part of a series of Royal British Legion Scotland events taking place over 100 days in the run up to the 100-year anniversary of the Armistice of the First World War.

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Royal British Legion Scotland chief executive officer, Kevin Gray MM, who was part of the event, said: “It was an emotional journey as the entire legion community came together to pay respects to the brave men and women who gave their lives defending their countries.

“The event highlighted what being a legion member is all about, as thousands of members paraded shoulder to shoulder through the arches of the Menin Gate and came together in the Great Square afterwards in a display of comradeship and remembrance.

“I’m honoured to have been part of it and it is a fitting start to the final 100 days to Armistice 100.”