On Remembrance Day, East Twickenham Village again held our annual commemoration of our fallen First World War Belgian Soldiers year on Remembrance Day in Twickenham Cemetery. We were joined by The Mayor, a Belgian Embassy representative, and musicians from the Royal Military School of Music.

2014 Remembrance Belgian graves Mayor Band

 Photograph courtesy of Kate Elliot

The four soldiers whose graves are in Twickenham Cemetery had joined the large community of Belgian refugees brought here by the huge Pelabon Munitions Works in Cambridge Road. They couldn’t return to the front because of battle wounds, so they had been drafted to the factory - and died there in separate industrial accidents. They were still part of the army, so these were deaths in service.

 The Mayor praised the contribution of the Belgian community during the First World War, and stressed how important this history is to the whole Borough.

 The band played the Last Post, and we held a two-minute silence. The Mayor laid a poppy wreath for us beside one of the graves and Michael Phillips, Chairman of ETV, read out the soldiers' names.

 2014 Remembrance Belgian grave with wreath

 Photograph courtesy of Kate Elliot

Baroness Carole van Eyll ,on behalf of the Belgian Ambassador, thanked the East Twickenham community for their solidarity to the Belgian nationals who arrived as refugees. She said she hoped to celebrate an enduring Belgo-British friendship. The band then played the Belgian National Anthem and we laid individual poppies at the other three graves.

 We were all struck by how young the bandspeople were; the trumpeter was a young woman. This brought home to us the age of most of the soldiers of all nationalities who died at the front.

 

 

Helen Baker

15 November 2014