On the 9th of June the 3rd Our Lady’s Pals Battalion led by Colonel Smith, Major Letham, Lieutenant Pegard and Captain Halket left Motherwell to visit the Western Front. We followed in the footsteps of those men who fought at Loos and the Somme in France and Ypres in Belgium.
Experiences which stood out
- The atmosphere on the bus when singing the First World War songs. The 3rd Our Lady’s Pals were outstanding.
- British and German graveyards where we heard amazing stories about individual men
- The monuments at Thiepval and the Menin Gate which are dedicated to the missing in battle.
- Our remembrance ceremony at Poelkapelle Cemetery Calum Wilson read out the poem “In Flanders Field”; Hannah Coakely lit a candle and placed it on the altar; Ryan Harbinson and Kieran Cubis placed a wreath of poppies on the altar with a message from the 3rd Pals
- We visited the grave of one of our own from the Motherwell/Wishaw district. In a very moving ceremony we placed a cross and a poppy on the grave of Private Peter Lynch from Cleland. Peter was the great-great-uncle of Daniel Leonard and this was the first time someone had paid a visit to his grave.
We had a great time on the Ferry. We all loved the food and the disco. Members of the public on the ship were so impressed with our dancing and singing that we received standing ovations. Corey Slavin’s dancing in particular was amazing. In the beautiful medieval city of Bruges we went sightseeing on the canal boats and on the horse and carriages. There were so many souvenirs to choose from and most of us brought back masses of Belgian chocolate.
We were promised before we left on the trip that we would return to Motherwell as changed people. This has undoubtedly been the case.
For more information and pictures, check out this site.