If you were wondering how the Association return visit to Ligny-Thilloy turned out on the 11th of November, you need wonder no more. Chairman Keith Chapman has put together an excellent resume for the BLog, so read on:-

In line with arrangements expertly planned and coordinated by Wg Cdr Chas Whitaker, twelve Association Members and partners travelled to northern France last weekend to attend the annual Ceremony of Remembrance held in Ligny-Thilloy on Sunday 11 November. The weather was exactly the same as last year. That is to say, cold, dank and grey with mist and low stratus that would once again have thwarted any fly-past by a DH2 had one been planned.

The ceremony began promptly at 11.00 hrs when the Mayor (Monsieur Dominique Deleplace) called upon all present (villagers and British visitors alike) to assemble in front of the village war memorial. After a trumpeter had played the French equivalent of the Last Post, the Mayor read out the customary message from the President of France, followed by a roll-call of all those villagers who had died in the Two World Wars and other conflicts. The Mayor then paid tribute to the Allied Air Forces which had played such an important role in both World Wars, before calling upon our Deputy Chairman Sam Wright (smartly turned out in full Highland regalia) to play a haunting lament on the bagpipes, followed by a rendition of the French national anthem La Marseillaise. Villagers laid bouquets of flowers both on the village War Memorial and on the Hawker Memorial. Finally, our Chairman laid a poppy wreath on the Hawker Memorial. It was clear that the attendance of the XXIV Squadron Association contingent was much appreciated by our French hosts.

After the ceremony. everyone was invited to attend a convivial Vin d’Honneur hosted by the Mayor in the Village Hall, where Sam again impressed everyone with his prowess on the pipes! Later, the Association representatives entertained Monsieur and Madame Deleplace to an informal lunch in a small restaurant called “Le Gourmet” in nearby Bapaume, after which most people adjourned to the Mayor’s house for drinks, thus rounding off a truly memorable day. Both the Association contingent and the Mayor expressed the hope that such visits to Ligny-Thilloy for the annual Remembrance Ceremony on 11 November will become a regular event.


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