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 Wednesday, 31 October, 2001, 23:08 GMT
Princes mark Ypres 25,000th Last Post
Sgt Major Hayden Aldred with Jay Wilkinson
Jay Wilkinson attended the service for his great-great-grandfather
By Janet Barrie in Ypres

Members of the British and Belgian royal families have laid wreaths at the Menin Gate in the Belgian town of Ypres in a ceremony to mark the 25,000th sounding of the Last Post bugle call.

The Last Post echoed round the giant arch, covered in the names of the tens of thousands who fell in the battlefields nearby and who still remain missing more than 80 years later.

The traditional salute to fallen soldiers was first played in Ypres in 1928.

Servicemen and women from all over the Commonwealth watched as Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Prince Philippe of Belgium laid wreaths and marked a minute's silence.

A cascade of poppies fell from the arches of the memorial.

Never forgotten

It is approaching a century since the hundreds of thousands of Commonwealth soldiers lost their lives in the fields of Flanders.

But the organisers of the ceremony say though they cannot ever be forgotten and the Last Post will sound well into the future.

For the next year it will sound for a different one of each of the 55,000 missing whose names are carved on the Menin Gate.

The first will be the British soldier, Private Harry Wilkinson.

His remains were reburied with full honours in a military cemetery on Wednesday. A Belgian farmer found his body last year when ploughing his field. It was identified from a tag and his regimental cap badge.

Remembering the British and Commonwealth war dead

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31 Oct 01 | England
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