Armistice Day Commemorative Events in Ypres - Ieper

Royal British Legion Flanders Field of Poppies at the Menin Gate, Ieper (Ypres), for 11 November.
Standards and poppy wreaths at the Menin Gate on 11th November.
Poppy wreaths and Standards at the Menin Gate.

11th November is a public holiday in Belgium. A number of commemorative events are held in Ieper (Ypres) to mark the anniversary of Armistice Day on 11th November 1918.

St. George's Church Remembrance Day Service

Interior of St. George's Memorial Church in Ypres.
Interior of St. George's Memorial Church in Ypres.

An early morning service is held in St. George's Memorial Church on 11th November before the Special Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate. Due to the demand for places at this service, attendance is by ticket only. Tickets can be applied for from St. George's Church.

Following the service in St. Georges' Church, VIPs and congregation are welcome to join The Poppy Parade which forms up outside the church.

Apply for tickets via the St. George's Memorial Church website at:

Website: www.stgeorgesmemorialchurchypres.com (select About Us/Contact)

St. Martin's Cathedral Remembrance Day Service

St. Martin's Cathedral, Ypres.
St. Martin's Cathedral Ypres.

A service takes place (in Flemish) in St. Martin's Cathedral.

Parades Form Up: Vandenpeereboomplein

Parades forming up on the Vandenpeereboomplein.
Parades forming up in Ypres on 11 November

The parading Standards, bands, military and Fire Brigade representatives form up in the square called the Vandenpeereboomplein by St. George's Memorial Church and St. Martin's Cathedral.

The Poppy Parade

Royal British Legion Poppy Petals.
RBL Poppy petals

The Poppy Parade is open to all to take part.

Everyone wishing to join The Poppy Parade is invited to form up in the Vandepeereboomplein square.

The Idea

The idea for The Poppy Parade was originated in the early 1990s by Lieutenant-Colonel Graham Parker; it takes its inspiration from the poem by John McCrae “In Flanders Fields”, which was written close to Ypres in the spring of 1915.

With the increased numbers of people attending the Armistice Day ceremony at the Menin Gate Memorial it was becoming necessary to manage the crowds. One Armistice Day in the early 1990s Graham had met an Australian couple who were very disappointed to have travelled such a long way to be in Ypres for the 11.00 hours ceremony, but who could not get close to the Menin Gate for it. They had been to the morning service at St. George's Memorial Church but on leaving the service there were many people already crowded on the pavements between the Menin Gate and the market square and they found they could not stand anywhere near the Menin Gate.

This inspired Graham, who assisted on the Special Events Committee for Ypres, to develop an idea to enable members of the public with the opportunity to walk from St. George's Memorial Church to The Menin Gate in a formal parade, to pass through the arch of the memorial shortly before the start of the ceremony, and to stand in a specially allocated area east of the Memorial.

Carry a Poppy Petal

A Poppy Petal is offered to everyone on The Poppy Parade.
Poppy Parade Ypres 11 November

Everyone participating in The Poppy Parade is offered a Royal British Legion Poppy Petal to carry in The Poppy Parade from the forming up area near St. George's Memorial Church to The Menin Gate Memorial.

On reaching The Menin Gate Memorial the Poppy Petals are collected in special baskets.

During the 11.00 hours ceremony the Poppy Petals carried by The Poppy Parade are released from the roof of the Menin Gate. This is a very special moment which has become an integral part of the annual ceremony at the Menin Gate.

Wreath Layers

Wreath layers and members of the public form up for The Poppy Parade.
Members of the public gather for The Poppy Parade.

Members of the public and those representing military or civilian associations wishing to lay a wreath are recommended to join The Poppy Parade.

On arriving at The Menin Gate Memorial wreath layers will be directed where to stand in an allocated area at the memorial.

Marching Off

The Poppy Parade and main parade march off.
The Poppy Parade marches off.

At approximately 10.15 hours The Poppy Parade marches off from the Vandenpeereboomplein square.

The parades of Standards, bands and VIPs then march off.

The parades make their way to the Menin Gate Memorial for the 11 o'clock Special Last Post Ceremony.

Ypres War Victims Monument

Ypres War Victims Monument.
Ypres War Victims Monument

The Poppy Parade passes the Ypres War Victims Monument where wreaths are laid.

The parade turns left at the corner of The Cloth Hall and makes its way along the south side of the market square, passing the Cloth Hall.

The Market Square: Grote Markt

Market square with a projection screen for the ceremony.
Market square and live projection screen in Ypres

Over the last few years the number of people attending the ceremony has grown significantly. Nowadays it is not unusual to see crowds of hundreds of people lining the route of the parade.

For this reason the Last Post Association and the city of Ypres are responsible for the arrangements to ensure the smooth-running of the event and for the safety of all those attending.

The market square (Grote Markt) and Meensestraat are closed to vehicles during the morning, enabling visitors to move around on foot in a safe pedestrianized zone.

Market Square: Live Projection Screen

Live projection screen to view the ceremony from the market square.
Live projection screen in Ypres

Space under the Menin Gate is limited to invited guests, ceremony participants and wreath layers during the ceremony. The organizers of the ceremony therefore set up a large projection screen on the market square so that everyone has the opportunity to watch and listen to the music and words of the ceremony as it takes place.

Meensestraat

The Poppy Parade passes along Meensestraat to The Menin Gate.
Meensestraat on 11 November

The Poppy Parade continues along the south side of the market square into Meensestraat, followed by the main parade of military personnel, Standards and bands.

Passing along Meensestraat the parades make their way to The Menin Gate Memorial.

The Poppy Parade Arrives: Poppy Petals Collected

The Poppy Parade arrives at The Menin Gate Memorial, where the Poppy Petals are collected.
Poppy Parade in Ypres

As The Poppy Parade reaches The Menin Gate Memorial the Poppy Petals carried by those in this parade are collected in special baskets.

People carrying wreaths to be laid during the ceremony are directed where to stand in a reserved area for wreath layers.

The Poppy Parade passes through the Menin Gate and is halted at the eastern side of The Menin Gate in a specially reserved area.

Parade of Bands & Standards Arrive

Bands arrive at The Menin Gate Memorial for the 11.00 hours ceremony.
Bands at the 11 November ceremony.

The parade of bands and Standards follows on, arriving at The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing and taking their places for the special 11 o'clock Ceremony of Remembrance.

For many years the superb band of the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service Ceremonial Unit has played a key role in the ceremony, wearing distinctive white helmets and immaculately turned out in their uniforms. There is a strong relationship between members of fire and rescue services and the Last Post Association, the buglers of which are all serving or ex-serving volunteer firemen.

Special 11.00 Hours Last Post Ceremony, Menin Gate

The Service of Remembrance

Standards at The Menin Gate Memorial 11.00 hours ceremony.
Standards at the 11 November ceremony.

The ceremony usually lasts for about 45 minutes; it includes short speeches (in Flemish and English), prayers, hymns, a choir, wreath laying, a minutes' silence, dropping of the Poppy Petals, The Last Post and Réveille.

The ceremony is attended by representatives of the United Kingdom Armed Forces, Belgian and other nations' Armed Forces, local dignitaries, invited guests, ambassadors, members of the clergy, representatives of United Kingdom Fire & Rescue Services, Royal British Legion Standard bearers, ex-Service organizations, Friends of the Last Post Association, and members of The Western Front Association.

Wreath Laying: Official Wreaths

Official wreaths are laid at the ceremony.
Wreaths laid at the Menin Gate.

During the service official wreaths are laid.

Wreath Laying: Members of the Public

Members of the public lay wreaths.
Members of the public lay wreaths.

Members of the public are welcome to lay a wreath, for example, to a family member, on behalf of a military unit, organization, school or college.

If you wish to do this you can contact The Last Post Association for details of timings and the ceremony (see link below).

Members and Committee members of The Last Post Association attend the 11.00 hours ceremony to organize and marshal those participating in the parades and those people laying wreaths.

Falling Poppy Petals

Poppy Parade Poppy Petals flutter from the roof of the Menin Gate during the ceremony.
Poppy petals during the 11 November ceremony.

During the Minute's Silence in the ceremony the Poppy Petals carried to the Menin Gate Memorial by The Poppy Parade are released from the roof of the memorial.

Instigated by Lieutenant Colonel Graham Parker as a feature of The Poppy Parade, this has become a very special and memorable part of the annual ceremony at the Menin Gate Memorial.

“Last Post”

Last Post Buglers at the 11 November 11.00 hours ceremony, Menin Gate Memorial.
Last Post Buglers, Last Post Association.

Buglers of The Last Post Association play the “Last Post” bugle call.

The sounding of Last Post is played at military funerals and occasions of Remembrance. This bugle call originates from the tradition of sounding a bugle call at particular times of the day throughout a soldier's day in the British Army. The “Last Post” was the final bugle call of the day sounded at the final sentry post inspection, signalling the end of the day and that all men should be back in their billets.

Parade Marches Off

The Last Post Association buglers march past at the Menin Gate on 11th November.
The Last Post Association buglers march past at the Menin Gate on 11 November.

As the ceremony draws to a close the bands, Standards, Last Post Buglers and units on parade March Off.

Tea from TOC H Belgium

Hot cups of tea from the TOC H volunteers on 11th November.
Volunteers from TOC H Belgium.

During the morning and after the ceremony at The Menin Gate volunteers of TOC H Belgium distribute fresh cups of tea on the market square (Grote Markt) of Ypres next to the Cloth Hall.

Toc H (Talbot House) was a house in Poperinge, behind the Lines of the Ypres Salient battlefields, set up as an Everyman's Club, where rank could be put aside at the front door and an urn of tea was always on the go.

For more information about TOC H (Talbot House) see our page at:

TOC H - Talbot House

Armistice Day Annual Concert: The Great War Remembered

Lighting for the Great War Remembered concert in St. Martin's cathedral in Ypres/Ieper.
St. Martin's cathedral in Ieper.

The Great War Remembered concert, organized by The Last Post Association, in St. Martin's Cathedral has been an annual feature of the Armistice Day commemorations in Ypres/Ieper since 2004. The concert includes music and readings with bands, choirs, soloists and the Buglers of The Last Post Association.

Buy your tickets online via the Last Post Association website. Go to:

Website: www.lastpost.be The Great War Remembered Concert 11/11/13

Royal British Legion Flanders Field of Poppies

The Royal British Legion Flanders Field of Poppies at the Menin Gate.
Flanders Field of Poppies.

In 2008 The Royal British Legion invited members of the public to dedicate a poppy with a written message, which was then planted along with thousands of other poppies to create a Flanders Field of Poppies for the anniversary of Armistice Day on the ramparts next to the Menin Gate Memorial.

Since then this Act of Remembrance has been repeated in Ypres each 11 November.

For information about how you can participate in this Act of Remembrance (messages need to be provided before 1st November), visit the page on the Royal British Legion website at:

Website: www.britishlegion.org.uk remembrance/flanders-field-of-poppies

2013 Armistice Day Events & Timings

For the 2013 times of these and other events relating to the 95th anniversary of Armistice Day on 11th November 2013 see our events page at:

What's On in the Ypres Salient

Related Topics

The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing & Last Post Ceremony

The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing, Ieper/Ypres.
The Menin Gate Memorial in Ieper/Ypres.
Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing

For information about the daily Last Post ceremony, and how you can participate if you wish to lay a wreath, see the website for The Last Post Association at:

Website: www.lastpost.be Ceremonies

Visiting the Ypres Salient

The famous Cloth Hall (Lakenhalle) in the Market Square of Ieper/Ypres.
The Cloth Hall (Lakenhalle) in the Market Square of Ieper/Ypres.

For information about battlefield sites to visit, cemeteries, memorials and visitor accommodation see our page at:

Visiting the Ypres Salient