Kenilworth British Legion chairman says First World War parade ‘most moving experience’ of his life

Dave Tovey (left) and Cllr George Illingworth with the Kenilworth RBL's standard and wreath
Dave Tovey (left) and Cllr George Illingworth with the Kenilworth RBL's standard and wreath

The chairman of the Kenilworth branch of the Royal British Legion said a taking part in a pilgrimage in France to mark the end of the First World War was ‘one of the most moving experiences’ of his life.

Cllr George Illingworth went over to France along with Kenilworth RBL member Dave Tovey to take part in the ‘Great Pilgrimage 90’, between Sunday August 5 and Thursday August 9.

Cllr Illingworth with Kenilworth Town Council's wreath

Cllr Illingworth with Kenilworth Town Council's wreath

The event marked 90 years since the original Royal British Legion Pilgrimage in 1928, which saw 11,000 First World War veterans and war widows visit the battlefields of the Somme in France and Ypres in Belgium.

The two men joined some 1,100 other British Legion branches on the pilgrimage, which toured some of the battlefields before the march from Ypres to the Menin Gate on Wednesday August 8.

They laid a wreath at the Menin Gate on behalf of the British Legion, and later went back to lay another wreath on behalf of the Kenilworth community.

Cllr Illingworth said he was proud to represent the Kenilworth branch at the event.

He added; “It was one of the most moving experiences I’ve been on. The emotion of marching up to the Menin Gate was so strong.

“The sight of all the branches with their standards was something to behold.

“I know Warwick and Stratford (Royal Legion branches) were there - but it was right and proper that Kenilworth was represented. We’re extremely proud we were there.”