“This is unique”: bodyguards of British King Charles give military show in Westhoek (Domestic)

“This is unique”: bodyguards of British King Charles give military show in Westhoek (Domestic)
“This is unique”: bodyguards of British King Charles give military show in Westhoek (Domestic)
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Ypres/Zandvoorde/Zonnebeke

A crowd of people gathered on the Grote Markt in Ypres on Saturday evening for a remarkable spectacle. A military and musical show was held in front of the Cloth Hall by the Household Cavalry, the bodyguard of the British king.

The Household Cavalry is one of the oldest regiments in the British army and has a lot of blue blood in its ranks. The elite unit is the official bodyguard of the British king and will exceptionally come to the Westhoek this weekend for a memorial ceremony. As chairman of the Last Post Association, Benoit Mottrie has received numerous well-known army units, heads of state and royals in recent years. “But this is unique: the last visit was in 2014, but it is the first time that their band has also come along,” he says. (Read more below the photo)

It is the first time that the band is coming to the Westhoek. — © Thijs Pattyn

The reason for their arrival is the centenary of the inauguration of the memorial column for the Royal Household Cavalry in Zandvoorde, the smallest village in Zonnebeke. The elite unit was deployed on the Zandvoorde ridge at the beginning of the First World War. The village was captured by the Germans on October 30, 1914, and about 120 men of the Household Cavalry were killed, including many well-known British nobles. The memorial to the Household Cavalry was erected on the site of the original grave of the fallen Lord Worsley. It was unveiled on May 4, 1924 by British Field Marshal Haig, after whom a street in Ypres is named. Lord Astor of Hever, grandson of Haig, is the driving force behind this visit of the Household Cavalry to the Westhoek. (Read more below the photo)

The British elite unit.

The British elite unit. — © Thijs Pattyn

The ceremony in Zandvoorde took place on Saturday afternoon and towards the evening the Household Cavalry and their band went to the Ypres Grote Markt for a public concert. They were joined by the London Scottish Pipes & Drums and Field Marshal Haig’s own Pipes & Drums. The colorful ensemble was escorted by horses, decked out in current ceremonial and original WWI equipment. The Last Post at the Menin Gate could also not be missing from the program of the British royal bodyguard. (Read more below the photo)

The concert on the Ypres Grote Markt.

The concert on the Ypres Grote Markt. — © Thijs Pattyn

“We are extremely honored with the visit of the Household Cavalry to the Westhoek,” said Mottrie. “Our organization maintains close contacts with Lord Astor of Hever. The Menin Gate lists many soldiers serving in the 1st and 2nd Life Guards and the Machine Gun section of the Royal Horse Guards, who died in the fighting near Zandvoorde at the end of October 1914.” (Read more below the photo)

The crowds of people on the Ypres Grote Markt.

The crowds of people on the Ypres Grote Markt. — © Thijs Pattyn

Geert Bekaert of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) also attended the ceremonies. “It’s hard for us to imagine what these men went through to try to keep possession of the Zandvoorde ridge. After a heavy artillery bombardment, their trenches were overrun by the German superior forces, causing squadrons of the 1st and 2nd Life Guard Regiments and the Royal Horse Guards Machine Guns to lose contact with the British troops. Many soldiers and officers were killed or captured during this heroic defense. The fallen found their final resting place in a CWGC cemetery or are commemorated with their names on the Menin Gate. We will not forget them.”

Cathedral

The Household Cavalry Band will enliven the Eucharist celebration in the Ypres cathedral on Sunday at 11 a.m., together with the Ypres choir Chorus.

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

The colorful ensemble was escorted by horses, decked out in current ceremonial and original WWI equipment.

The colorful ensemble was escorted by horses, decked out in current ceremonial and original WWI equipment. — © Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

© Thijs Pattyn

The article is in Dutch

Belgium

Tags: unique bodyguards British King Charles give military show Westhoek Domestic

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