More than 20 serving and retired members of Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service set off for Belgium yesterday morning to take part in a Remembrance Day parade on Tuesday.
Together with friends and colleagues from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, representatives have been visiting the Flemish town of Ypres every year since 1990.
The fire and rescue service has a special connection with Ypres which dates back to 1928. Their 25th annual trip coincides with the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One.
Every day at 8pm, buglers from the local fire service play The Last Post beneath the arches of the Menin Gate, a memorial erected in the decade following the end of World War One to remember the names of nearly 50,000 soldiers who have no known grave.
Arthur Jordan, who has organised the trip for many years, said: “It is wonderful to meet the local fire service, whose commitment and dedication have kept this emotional ceremony happening each evening for more than 80 years. It is also an honour to be able to take part in the Remembrance Day parade each year.”
Several members of the group, led by Greg Smith, Head of Service Development, and Crew Manager Mark Devlin, will take part in the parade.
They will join other local and international fire services, and there are expected to be more than 200 serving firefighters from across the UK alone.
Arthur added: “The trip gives visitors an insight into the events that occurred in this small area. We talk about life in the trenches, the origins of the war and why this conflict, more than any, lies deep at the heart of the British psyche.
“We actively help members trace relatives and find battlefield locations where family members may have served.”