Radio 2

“Brits will continue to come, they haven’t forgotten us!”

The Duke of Kent, a cousin of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, visited Talbot House in Poperinge (West Flanders) yesterday.  The duke was accompanied by relatives of soldiers, who died in Flanders’ Fields during the Great War. 

The pandemic has kept many Britons away from the Great War battlefields for too long.  So too members of the royal family. Not a single member of the British royal family has been in Flanders’ Fields for three years now.

The Duke of Kent was in Belgium for a special ceremony, a reburial or funeral for nine Great War soldiers, six of whom were recently identified thanks to a ring.  Thirty-five relatives of the deceased travelled to Poperinge with the duke.   

The Duke of Kent and several relatives also visited Talbot House, a club where British soldiers could relax from the war that is today a museum.  Simon Louagie is the manager of Talbot House: “It’s very symbolic that we are receiving such a strong signal of hope so soon after Brexit and the pandemic.  It’s a clear signal that Brits will continue to come and visit and haven’t forgotten us. When somebody aged 86 specially asks to visit Talbot House, that’s such a boost for us!”

Nine British soldiers including six identified thanks to the inscription “From Peggy” on a ring were reburied today.  The reburial took place at the Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery at Passchendaele in Zonnebeke (West Flanders).

“As the honorary colonel of their regiment the Duke of Kent has a special bond with these soldiers and attended the funeral together with relatives.  He’s staying here for two days together with the relatives so that they can retrace the footsteps of their newly identified kinsfolk” said Louagie.

“The duke may be 86 but that didn’t keep him from taking the steep flight of stairs to our chapel on the third floor in order to attend the emotional remembrance service for nine British soldiers, whose bodies were recently found.  Six have been identified.  The duke didn’t have any trouble with the stairs.  He even lit the Christmas illuminations at Talbot House, the official start of our winter season.”

Radio 2

Top stories