This England - - Contents - Mrs Joan E Drew, Wim­borne

My grand­fa­ther, Her­bert Beck­ett, died in Ypres dur­ing the First World War, leav­ing be­hind my grand­mother and his chil­dren.

On the 16th April 2018, my hus­band and I trav­elled to Bel­gium to lay a wreath at the Menin Gate. Af­ter the cer­e­mony we talked to a lovely Dutch cou­ple who wished to know why we were there that par­tic­u­lar evening. They had videoed the cer­e­mony which they kindly sent to me.

We then went to see the wreaths which other peo­ple had laid and I was shocked to see an­other one to my grand­fa­ther.

I stopped at the first bar on the right com­ing out of Menin Gate and I saw the back of a lady with long blonde hair. I asked if she had laid the wreath and amaz­ingly she said she had – for her hus­band’s fam­ily. Her hus­band, John, said Her­bert Beck­ett was his great­grand­fa­ther. It was such a shock to be meet­ing a sec­ond cousin at the Menin Gate in Ypres! He gave me a big hug and we all talked un­til the early hours.

My hus­band and I are go­ing back to Ypres for the 100-year remembrance on the 11th Novem­ber, 2018. The Bel­gian peo­ple are ab­so­lutely won­der­ful. They re­mem­ber our war dead ev­ery day of the year, clos­ing the road through Ypres to sound the Last Post. We salute them all.

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