The Centenary of the Armistice on 11th November 2018 was a hugely important day for us as Friends of Lochnagar and for everyone throughout the world.
With the Lochnagar Crater Foundation now up and running and the Lochnagar Path of Peace project set as its first project we wanted to make our Ceremony at the Crater something extraordinary. As part of the Path of Peace initiative and under the strapline ‘1918: The Great War Ends. 2018: The Great Peace Begins.’ we hoped everyone attending might like the opportunity to make an important and thought-provoking gesture.
We devised a plan where at the end of the ceremony the Cross would be completely covered in white lilies as a symbol of our mutual commitment to Peace and Reconciliation. Whilst Friends Julie Thomson, Christian Bernard, Maire of Ovillers La Boisselle, Markus Paulick and Steve Atkinson read out the names of 100 soldiers from all the combatant nations, we invited the congregation to step forward one at a time and take a white lily to the Cross where it was placed so as to completely cover it. We were overwhelmed by the positive response and from what folk said afterwards it was a truly moving experience for many. We hoped that by the end of the day the image of the covered Cross could encircle the world. To help make this happen everyone was asked to share the image on social media, and by midnight we believe we had achieved our goal.
After the Ceremony at the Crater we were kindly invited to join the commune of Ovillers La Boisselle at the regular Vin d’Honneur. We then processed and laid wreaths at the memorials in La Boisselle before going on to David and Clare Disbrey’s farm at Contalmaison, thence to Mametz Wood where we laid a wreath for Harry Fellows and remembered Mick Fellows, before all moving on to our final ceremony at Fricourt German Cemetery where approximately 35 folk joined together to finish our very special day of remembrance and commemoration. Thank you everyone who came along throughout the day.