Thursday, 11 May 2017


On Monday 3rd April myself and my wife Winifride travelled by train from Didsbury Manchester to Ypres Belgium. We did so to visit the Menin Gate Memorial and the various cemeteries in and around Ypres were Manchester Corporation Tramway’s (MCT) employees are either remembered or buried. 

It was so we could pay our respects and remember all those MCT Employees who died in the Ypres Salient 1914-1918.

We left Didsbury at 10.58am and five trains later we arrived in Ypres at 20.41hrs.

Walking from the train station to our accommodation it was very quite as evening was turning into night. It is hard to imagine what happened there 100 years ago when the town was totally destroyed in four years of fighting. It was held by the Allies during all of that time, never once falling into German hands.

After the war the residents of Ypres decided to rebuild their town exactly as it was before the conflict started and today it is the epicentre of Remembrance on the Western Front.

The Menin Gate Memorial is situated on the eastern side of Ypres on the road to Menin and it was sited here as this was the road were many thousands of allied troops marched to battle.

It was erected in 1927 to remember all those who fell in battle between 1914 and 1917. Its walls contain the names of over 54,000 soldiers whose remains were never found and who have no known grave.

The Tyne Cot Memorial, 9kms away contains a further 35,000 names from 1917-1918 period who could not be entered on the Menin Gate Memorial and who also have no known grave.

At the top of the Memorial there is an inscription “To the armies of the British Empire who stood here from 1914 to 1918 and to those of their dead who have no known grave”.

In grateful thanks for their sacrifice members of the Ypres Fire Brigade have sounded the Last Post under The Gate every evening since the Armistice 1918, the only break being due to The Second World War.

For the ceremony I had purchased a Remembrance Wreath from the Royal British Legion prior to departure.

The inscription reads: "The Museum of Transport remembers employees of Manchester Corporation Tramways who fought and died in the Ypres Salient 1914 – 1918 Never Forgotten “ I also added a picture of the Memorial Plaque on the wall of the Princess Road Bus Depot.

On arriving at the Gate we were greeted by delegates from the Last Past Association who oversee every Last Post Ceremony. Since the beginning of the Centenary Commemorations in 2014 the numbers of people attending this event have grown.

We were part of a number of different groups laying wreaths that night. The only military personnel that evening were from the Royal Naval Reserve while the rest like us were civilians representing, families, schools and organisations.

At precisely 8pm total silence was called for, the Exhortation was spoken, the Last Post was sounded then we had a respectful silence.

This was followed by the wreath laying ceremony were each group in turn walked across the road to the other side of the memorial up the steps and placed the wreaths on specially adapted rails.

When it was our turn we felt humbled and proud to be representing the Museum of Transport and remembering all the MCT employees who died and are remembered on The Menin Gate Memorial.

A band from one of the schools participating in the wreath laying ceremony played appropriate music during this time,

The Last Post Ceremony is a very moving event. I would urge any one who has an interest in the Great War to visit Ypres and attend this event. They would see for themselves the appreciation the people of Ypres have for the sacrifices made by the UK and Commonwealth Forces during 1914-18.

In future blogs I will tell more stories about my visit to Ypres and my search for the graves of MCT employees.

If you have any info on the MCT Employees on the WW1 Memorial Plaque please contact me at or by mobile 07985490124


© Martin Logan, 2017

Location; Ypres

Pictures; from the collection of Martin Logan

No comments:

Post a Comment