30,000th Last Post: More than 150 fire stations join July 9 tribute

Posted on centenarynews.com on 07 July 2015
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More than 150 fire stations and other organisations worldwide have announced events on July 9th marking the 30,000th sounding of the Last Post in Ypres. 

The anniversary tribute is being streamed live from the Menin Gate where the buglers, traditionally drawn from Ypres' volunteer fire brigade, salute the fallen of the First World War every night at 8pm CET (7pm BST).

Fire services across the world have been invited to take part in Thursday's 'Tribute to the Tribute' by holding their own commemorations at the same time.

The Flanders region of Belgium, which includes Ieper (Ypres), is strongly represented. Many firefighters across the UK and the Isle of Man have also answered the call. Fire stations in Germany, Ireland, New Zealand and the US are participating too. More details can be found here

Last Post anniversary events are also planned at national centres of remembrance, including the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, Berlin's Neue Wache, the India Gate in Delhi, New Zealand's Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington, and Westminster Abbey and the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London. 

We'll have another update in Centenary News on Thursday.

The Menin Gate remembers almost 55,000 British & Commonwealth soldiers who have no known grave (Photo: Centenary News)

A look at some of the commemorations taking place at UK fire stations:

In Scotland, senior officers and staff from the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service will join local councillors and community representatives at Livingston and Tarbert fire stations. 

Chief Officer Alasdair Hay said:“On 9th July 2015 staff from across SFRS will take a moment of silence to remember those who died during WW1 as the 30,000th Last Post is sounded.  The first sounding of the Last Post happened on 1st July 1928 and barring four years during the (WW2) occupation, it has sounded daily since. 

"Traditionally, the bugle is sounded by members of the local fire brigade and that is why fire services across the world will be taking part in this particular event in support of the efforts of our colleagues in Belgium who have carried out this tribute so diligently over the years to remember fallen comrades.

“For staff at SFRS it will be an opportunity for us to reflect on the sacrifices that were made for us as well as remembering all those who served during the war. I am pleased that SFRS staff will be taking part in this commemorative event at our stations to mark this important occasion.”

In England, Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service will be holding a special ceremony at Leamington Fire Station at 6.30pm (BST). Flags and standards will be lowered during the sounding of the Last Post by the Royal Spa Brass.

Warwickshire’s Chief Fire Officer, Andy Hickmott, said: “Honouring the Last Post in this way is a fitting way for us to remember those sacrificed their lives for us in World War One. The Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service Ceremonial group have been supporting the Last Post Association buglers for over twenty years. This year we are joining in with the national tribute here in Warwickshire.

“I hope as many members of the public as possible will attend and join us in paying their respects."

In western England, Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service is opening the doors of Swindon and Devizes fire stations to anyone who would like to watch the Ypres event live on a big screen. 

Swindon firefighter Rob Harris said: “Since 1928, members of the Fire Service have supported this unique act of remembrance, and their commitment and dedication to duty is worthy of celebration. Sharing in this 30,000th sounding of the Last Post is our way of thanking them for a job incredibly well done.”

Visitors are asked to arrive by 6.30pm (BST).

The Menin Gate from the Ypres ramparts. In the foreground is the 'Peace Bench' unveiled by European Union leaders in the First World War Centenary year of 2014 (Photo: Centenary News)

As reported already in Centenary News, six fire stations in the County Durham area will he joining the 'Tribute to the Tribute'.

The events, including live streaming from the Menin Gate take place at Bishop Auckland, Durham, Consett, Peterlee, Darlington and Spennymoor from 6pm-7.30pm (BST) on July 9th.

Buglers will join staff, invited guests and members of the public for the commemorations organised by County Durham and Darlington Fire & Rescue Service.

The 30,000th Last Post tribute is a joint venture between GoneWest, the West Flanders cultural remembrance programme, and the Last Post Association.

The ceremony and live links between the various participating countries will be broadcast live online at www.deredactie.be and www.flandersfields1418.com. A mobile phone app is also available.

Sources: Visit Flanders; Scottish Fire & Rescue Service; Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service; Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service; County Durham & Darlington Fire & Rescue Service

All photos: Centenary News

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News