The Ballymoney branch of the Royal British Legion recently organised a trip to the site of the Somme.
After arriving in Amsterdam the group went to Menin, thjeir base for the stay.
After a short rest the party attended the evening Remembrance service at the Menin gate where the branch Chairman Mark McLaughlin laid a wreath on behalf of the Ballymoney Branch.
On the Wednesday the tgroup visited Theipval Tower for the Service of Remembrance for the 99th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. At the wreath laying ceremony, the vice chairman of the branch, Hugh Elliott laid a wreath.
Following lunch at the Theipval Tower the group went to the Ulster Tower for another wreath laying ceremony, where this time James Dobbin and his son Lawrence laid the wreath on behalf of Ballymoney RBL branch. There was also a short service of remembrance at the Orange memorial at the Ulster Tower where Bro. Raymond Rogers from the Bushmills District laid a wreath.
Following an evening meal the party visited a local museum and trenches. On Thursday the Ballymoney group went to the Tynecott Cemetery where they had a very informative talk on it by the tour guide Don Mitchell.
Tynecott cemetry was followed up by a visit to the Lone Tree cemetery where William Wallace’s great uncle is buried. William read out a letter which his great uncle had sent home before he laid a wreath. After this the group headed travelled to Pond Farm cemetery where three men from Ballymoney are buried. A small number of the group walked to this where Liam McCurdy Branch secretary laid a wreath at the three graves.
The party then returned home after a very enjoyable tour.
Special thanks must go to Kenny Brogan coaches and his driver Alan Mitchell who organised the trip. Also a special word of thanks to Don Mitchell the tour guide who made it all the more special with his great explanations about everything the group saw.