Leeds veteran Simon Brown's emotional Menin Gate march

A Leeds war veteran retraced the steps of his courageous great-grandfather during an 'incredibly emotional' ceremony for fallen heroes in Belgium.
Royal British Legion at Menin Gate, Ypres. From lgarrahan@britishlegion.org.ukRoyal British Legion at Menin Gate, Ypres. From lgarrahan@britishlegion.org.uk
Royal British Legion at Menin Gate, Ypres. From [email protected]

Simon Brown today took part in a two-mile march to the Menin Gate monument in Ypres as part of a build-up to November’s centenary of the signing of the Armistice following the First World War.

He wore the medals of his grandfather Sydney Brown, who served in the Second World War, and his great-grandfather Joseph Brown, who fought in the Great War’s Second Battle of Ypres as well as the third, the Battle of Passchendaele.

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He said: “For me, you can imagine it was quite weird walking up a road my great-grandad walked up before he went into one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War.”

More than 2,200 members of the Royal British Legion embarked on a series of tours of trenches, battlefields and cemeteries in Belgium and France from Sunday. Simon, a former Royal Engineer, was one of the Legion members who carried wreaths to the site containing messages written by schoolchildren from the UK.

After being left almost blind when he was shot by a sniper in Basra, Iraq, in 2006, Simon is now the chairman of the Morley branch of the Legion. He and the branch’s standard bearer, Roy Wilson, were among 180 people from Yorkshire who travelled to the march and service.

Simon, 39, said: “I want to say how proud we are to represent the town of Morley, city of Leeds and county of Yorkshire.”