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West Norfolk groups join pilgrimage of remembrance




Norfolk standard bearers and wreath layers on parade in the Belgian town of Ypres (3558163)
Norfolk standard bearers and wreath layers on parade in the Belgian town of Ypres (3558163)
Gerry Tann on the Royal British Legion GP90 pilgrimage (3559167)
Gerry Tann on the Royal British Legion GP90 pilgrimage (3559167)
Norfolk standard bearers reflect on the hundreds of wreaths laid at the Menin Gate in Ypres (3558648)
Norfolk standard bearers reflect on the hundreds of wreaths laid at the Menin Gate in Ypres (3558648)

Hundreds of people from West Norfolk have taken part in a poignant pilgrimage to the First World War battlefields of Belgium and northern France.

The group, which represented several of the borough’s Royal British Legion branches, was part of the charity’s GP90 Pilgrimage to the Western Front.

The event not only marked the centenary of the end of the conflict, but also the 90th anniversary of the Great Pilgrimage of 1928.

Then, thousands of former servicemen and war widows travelled to see the places where their comrades and loved ones fell.

King's Lynn branch standard bearer Robert Hipkin and community support worker Karin Hipkin (3559187)
King's Lynn branch standard bearer Robert Hipkin and community support worker Karin Hipkin (3559187)
Norfolk standard bearers reflect on the hundreds of wreaths laid at the Menin Gate in Ypres (3558648)
Norfolk standard bearers reflect on the hundreds of wreaths laid at the Menin Gate in Ypres (3558648)
Wreaths representing five West Norfolk branches were among those laid (3559199)
Wreaths representing five West Norfolk branches were among those laid (3559199)

Karin Hipkin, community support worker for the Lynn branch, said the visit had been “very, very emotional.”

She added: “I didn’t expect it to hit me as much as it did. I didn’t realise the scale of it.

“I’m a mum of two grown-up boys in their 30s and you think of how many men their age and younger who didn’t come back.”

During the trip, the party visited several of the biggest British and Commonwealth cemeteries from the conflict, including the Thiepval memorial on the Somme, which honours more than 72,000 soldiers with no known grave.

They also took part in a parade through the Belgian town of Ypres, laying wreaths at the Menin Gate memorial where a nightly ceremony remembering those who were killed still takes place to this day.



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