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Household Cavalry: Speech

04/05/2024 - Speech by Benoit Mottrie, Chairman of the Last Post Association

Lord Astor, Gen Smyth Osbourne, Col Griffin, esteemed guests, ladies and gentlemen,

On May 4, 1924, exactly a century ago today,  Field Marshall Haig unveiled the HH Cavalry Memorial in Zandvoorde.

The memorial is erected on hallowed ground, purchased by Lady Worsley to honor her beloved husband , who fell and was buried at this very  spot.  

It stands as a moving reminder of the bravery and selflessness displayed by the men of the Household Cavalry on that fateful morning of October 30, 1914.

Lord Worsley and other members of the household Cavalry fell in the line of duty, defending Zandvoorde Ridge against the German onslaught, and this at the most critical moment of the battles of Ypres 1914.

Yet, amidst the brutality of war, a story of extraordinary humanity emerged when Freiherr (Baron) Oberleutnant Sigmund von Prankh,   though fighting on the opposite side, recognized the inherent dignity of his fallen adversary. 

He ensured a burial for Lord Worsley, marking his resting place with a wooden cross. Moreover, he collected Worsley’s personal effects,  to return them to his grieving family in the UK.

His act of humanity serves as a beacon of light in the darkness of war, but tragically,  it would also be Von Prankh’s last act ,as he too fell the following day.

Let us reflect ,in the shadow of the Menin Gate, on the remarkable story of Lord Worsley and Oberleutnant Freiherr Sigmund von Prankh – a true testament to the enduring values of courage, honor, and for most: the unbreakable bonds of humanity.

Since the 2nd of July 1928, and tonight for 33,223rd time, the Last Post Ceremony expresses ,  day after day, its everlasting respect to the Fallen who fought to preserve our freedom at the highest possible cost.

Tonight, we particurarly pay tribute to the brave men of the Household Cavalry, who gallantly fought at Zandvoorde .

But when the bugles will sound, our hearts and respect extend also across No Man’s Land as we not only remember the Allied Fallen but also the many lives that have perished on the other side . Enemies then, partners now.

The message of hope and respect will resonate in every note of the Last Post and will give solace and comfort to those who seek to learn from the past, to go to a better future.

The Last Post

Every day, at 8 o’clock in the evening. The daily act of homage.

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