Household Cavalry comes to Zandvoorde and Ypres
03/05/2024 - Zandvoorde - Source: Last Post Association
Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 May 2024

The Household Cavalry is coming to Zandvoorde (Zonnebeke) and Ypres during the weekend of 4 and 5 May 2024. This is to mark the 100th anniversary of the inauguration of the memorial column for the Royal Household Cavalry in Zandvoorde. They will also hold a short tattoo on the Ypres market square, attend the Last Post and particpate in the service in the Ypres Cathedral.

The Household Cavalry, known worldwide as the Guards on horseback, were elite units within the British army in which many men were of noble birth. Within the British cavalry, the Household Cavalry was the most highly regarded. They were deployed on the Zandvoorde Ridge in October 1914. On 30 October 1914, the Germans captured the village of Zandvoorde. Some 120 men of the Household Cavalry were killed or went missing. Many famous British nobles died, including Lord Worsley. On the site of his original grave, the Household Cavalry memorial was erected and unveiled by Field Marshal Haig on 4 May 1924. Lord Worsley is now buried at Ypres Town Cemetery Extension. Lord Astor of Hever, grandson of Field Marshal Haig, is the driving force behind the Household Cavalry’s visit to Zandvoorde and Ypres.

The ceremony in Zandvoorde will take place on Saturday 4 May 2024 at 3pm. In the evening, the Band of the Household Cavalry will give a short concert on the market square in Ieper at 7pm after which they will attend the Last Post at the Menin Gate. For both the concert and the Last Post ceremony, they will be joined by the London Scottish Pipes & Drums (UK) and the Field Marshal Haig’s own Pipes & Drums (Passendale, Belgium). And four horses (1 grey and 3 black) will escort the whole procession. The horses will be decked out in original WW1 gear, as well as current ceremonial equipment.

On Sunday 5 May 2024 at 11am, the Household Cavalry Band will join the Ypres choir Chorus in celebrating the service at the cathedral.

Benoit Mottrie (chairman Last Post Association): “We are particularly honoured by the Household Cavalry’s visit to the Westhoek. Our organisation maintains close contacts with Lord Astor of Hever and under his impulse this visit was organised. On the Menin Gate there are many soldiers listed from the 1st and 2nd Life Guards and the Machine Gun section of the Royal Horse Guards who died in the fighting at Zandvoorde in late October 1914.

Geert Bekaert (Commonwealth War Graves Commission): “It is hard to imagine what these men endured trying to hold the Zandvoorde Ridge. After heavy artillery bombardment, their trenches were overrun by German superiority, causing squadrons of the 1st and 2nd Life Guard Regiments and of the Royal Horse Guards Machine Guns to lose contact with the British troops. Many soldiers and officers were killed or captured during this heroic defence. The fallen found their final resting place in a CWGC cemetery or are commemorated with their names on the Menin Gate. We will not forget them.

Further on the agenda:
  • Friday, May 3, 2024: Last Post with the London Scottish Regimental Association and Band
  • Wednesday 8 May 2024: The daily Last Post will again take place under the Menin Gate; commemoration VE Day (end of WWII) with Harmonie De Vijverzonen from Dikkebus
  • Thursday 9 May 2024: 100 km of Ypres with Harmonie Ypriana