1st Battalion, Irish Guards prepare to leave Wellington Barracks, Westminster, following the outbreak of the First World War. The Battalion arrived in France as part of the British Expeditionary Force on 13th August 1914 (© IWM Q66157)

Western Front Association announces major tribute to first British troops sent to France in 1914

Posted on centenarynews.com on 01 August 2014
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The Western Front Association has announced four days of events in August 2014 to mark the 100th anniversary of the British Expeditionary Force leaving for France.

At the centre of the commemorations will be the movement from London to Arras of 85 poppy wreaths reflecting each of the land and air units that made up the BEF in August 1914.

Motorbikes, a horse-drawn wagon, vehicles and aircraft will all play a part in the extensive programme.

Members of the public will be welcome to join the WFA at the commemorations.

The BEF wreaths begin their journey on August 10th 2014 at the Poppy Factory in Richmond, Surrey, travelling first to Central London and then across the English Channel to Arras in Northern France. 

On August 12th, WFA will hold a series of tributes to the first two members of the Royal Flying Corps killed following the outbreak of war.

The men died while taking off from Netheravon airfield in Wiltshire, where a wreath will be laid in their memory.

Memorial flight

The WFA's commemorations culminate with a day of events in Northern France on August 13th.

In the morning, there will be a memorial flight for the Royal Flying Corps over Amiens involving a replica BE-2c aircraft (accompanied by aircraft from the De Havilland “Tiger” Moth Club).

The WFA will also commemorate the first British pilot to land in France: Lieutenant (later Major) H D Harvey-Kelly, DSO, No 2 Squadron, RFC.

During the afternoon, a remembrance service will be held in Arras, again featuring the BE-2c, as well as a Tornado flypast by the Royal Air Force. 

The venue is the Faubourg d’Amiens Cemetery & Arras Flying Services Memorial, in Arras. 

Full details of the four-day programme can be found here

Source: Western Front Association

Images courtesy of the Imperial War Museum (© IWM 66157)

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News