St John Pilgrimage to Ypres

Ypres, Belgium, 20. November 2017

All pictures by The Venerable Order of St John

In order to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Passendaele, several senior members from The Order of St John, including four Knights and three Dames, carried out a five-day pilgrimage to Ypres, Belgium, in the month of September. This concluded with the presentation of a memorial scroll to the Mayor and citizens of Ypres on behalf of His Royal Highness the Grand Prior. 1,077 members of St John lost their lives in their role of supporting the Armed Forces, both in the United Kingdom and abroad.


From left to right: Deputy Mayor of Ypres Jeff Verschoore; Mrs Zena Latham CStJ; Mr Andrew Latham KSt J; Mrs Sarah Clothier OStJ and Brigadier John Hemsley OBE GCStJ.

In recognition of St John’s past close association with the Armed Forces, the group teamed up with representatives from the Rifles Regimental Association to commemorate those members of St John who were killed in the Great War, many from the Ypres Salient. Wreaths on behalf of the Order, the Ambulance and the Fellowship were laid by Victor Law, James Walsh, Lady Gass and the Marquess of Abergavenny at Tyne Cot, St George’s Memorial Church and the Menin Gate in a series of ceremonies.

The Hon. Mrs Virginia Lovell and Lady Hamilton

After the presentation of the scroll, members of St John played a major role in front of over a thousand spectators at the impressive ‘Last Post’ ceremony at the Menin Gate. Lady Hamilton, The Hon. Virginia Lovell, Andrew Latham, Sarah Clothier and Zena Latham laid wreaths, whilst Philippa Hemsley (Order Ceremonial Staff) gave the eulogy. To conclude and in memory of the visit, the Town Mayor Jan Durnez presented the Grand Prior with a ceramic plate depicting the symbols of Ypres, in recognition of the close links between Great Britain and Belgium.