Special Last Posts for the Menin Gate Lions and Anzac Day
On Monday 24 April 2017 a special Last Post will take place at the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ieper (Belgium) for the unveiling of the ‘Menin Gate Lions’ who have now returned from Australia. Another special Last Post will be held on Anzac Day, Tuesday 25 April 2017 at 11.15 AM.
The Menin Gate Lions
2017 is again an important year for Ieper within the context of commemorating ‘100 years of the First World War 2014-2018’. The first top moment will be the unveiling and inauguration of the stone ‘Menin Gate Lions‘ during a special Last Post ceremony on Monday 24 April 2017 at 8.00 PM.
During The Great War, thousands of Australian and other Allied troops passed the lions on their way to the Belgian battlefields on the Western Front. Many of them were destined never to return.
In 1936 the lions were gifted by the City of Ieper to the Government of Australia as a gesture of friendship and gratitude for the sacrifices made by the Australian nation. Since many years they have stood guard at the entrance to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Dr Brendan Nelson, director of the Australian War Memorial and patron of the Last Post Association, has been one of the key persons in returning the lions now to Ieper. This return was made possible by the close collaboration of different authorities and organizations in Australia and Belgium.
On Monday 24 April 2017, The Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Australia, will be in Ieper for the unveiling of the lions. Kris Peeters, Vice-Prime Minister, will represent the Belgian government. In addition Corporal Dan Keighran VC will also participate in the ceremony. The Royal Harmony Ypriana, the Chorus choir from Ieper, the Australian Defence Force Singers and the New Zealand Maori Cultural Group will play and sing during the special Last Post.
All participants and the public need to be in their places at 7.15 PM at the latest:
- Please note: The ceremony will take place on the brigde (see map).
- Members of the public are asked to take their place at the intersection of the Frenchlaan, the Kiplinglaan or the Hoornwerk. The access to the public area via the Menin Gate will be closed at 7.20 PM at the latest. Afterwards the public area will only be accessible from the outside of the city.
The Last Post Association and the City of Ieper urgently ask that everyone follows these guidelines in order to assure a smooth ceremony. Many thanks in advance for your cooperation.
Call to all the people of Ieper
Chairman Benoit Mottrie of the Last Post Association: “We ask all people of the City of Ieper, young or old, to participate as much as possible in the ceremony. The ‘coming home’ of the ‘Menin Gate Lions’ will be an unique event that we will only witness once, a ‘once in a lifetime event’. The ‘Menin Gate Lions’ will stay at the Menin Gate until after Armistice Day, 11 November 2017.”
Anzac Day on 25 April 2017
Each year the In Flanders Fields region remembers the engagement of the Australian and New Zealand soldiers in The Great War. On Tuesday, 25 April 2017 at 11.15 AM, a special Last Post will take place at the Menin Gate, in the presence of important delegations from both countries. No doubt that many visitors from Australia and New Zealand will participate in this special Last Post or in one or more of the daily ceremonies before, on or after Anzac Day.
About the Last Post Association
The Last Post Association is an independent, voluntary, non-profit organization. It was the Association that first founded the Last Post Ceremony back in 1928, and it is the Association that today is still responsible for the day-to-day organisation of this unique act of homage at the Menin Gate in Ieper. For more details, history and updates: www.lastpost.be.