Many people, when they think about the first Christmas period of the Great War, are aware of the famous truce which occurred along the Western Front and was characterised by the football match in No Man’s Land.
Mercat Tours propose to commemorate that truce on the anniversary of its occurrence i.e. on Christmas Eve 2014 by organising a visit to the area.They have the support already of the Belgian Tourist authorities, the Town Councils of Messines and Ypres, PoppyScotland, the Royal British Legion and the Scottish and British governments. While details are still being worked out, they would like to gauge the level of interest in the project.
At the moment they are only looking for interest in principle and in May next year this will be converted to a commitment by payment of a deposit. The intention is to travel by coach to Belgium and travel either by overnight ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge or by Dover/Calais or Channel Tunnel.
Meals, Christmas dinner etc will be included and although it is a little too early to provide an exact price, the intention is to keep prices to the minimum so that whole families and young children can take part and find it affordable.
The provisional general itinerary would be as follows:
December 23 Leave Scotland and travel either overnight by Hull/Zeebrugge ferry or overland to Dover and thence to Calais.
Assemble in Ypres and in the evening at Messines for torchlight procession to site of truce. Service in No Man’s Land.
Midnight Mass in St Martin’s Cathedral, Ypres.
December 25 :Christmas Lunch. Commemorative Football Match in which everyone can participate for a few minutes, followed by a professional game.
8pm. Wreath laying Ceremony at the Menin Gate
December 26: Carol singing from scratch in the Great Square, Ypres.
Evening Concert Party in the Cloth Hall, Ypres.
December 27: Return home either by Hull/Zee or Dover/Calais.
1. To provide a dignified and appropriate opportunity for communities to mark an important historical event
2. To bring together in peace the former belligerents of WW1
3. To celebrate the joys of the Christmas Season
If you are interested in this venture, you can get in touch with Des Brogan at
Mercat Tours International Limited
28 Blair Street
Telephone0131 225 5445
International +44 131 225 5445