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Home News At WWI ceremony, Prince Philip given earth from battlefields

At WWI ceremony, Prince Philip given earth from battlefields

Published on 11/11/2013

Queen Elizabeth's husband Prince Philip attended a Last Post ceremony Monday in the Belgian town of Ypres to remember the tens of thousands of Commonwealth soldiers who died in World War I.

Philip, 92, who fought in the Royal Navy in World War II, laid a wreath at the Menin Gate in Ypres, a Flanders town reduced to rubble during the war.

The Last Post is sounded every evening at the memorial there dedicated to British and Commonwealth soldiers who died in battles nearby and whose graves are unknown.

To remember the fallen, Prince Philip was given 70 bags of earth scraped by Belgian schoolchildren from the Flanders Fields for a memorial garden in London.

Nearly 55,000 names of soldiers with no known graves are engraved on the walls of the Menin Gate memorial, built on one of the roads leaving the town towards the former front line.

The muddy flat Fields wedged between the North Sea and the French border were a key defensive point in the war.

Desperate British and French forces combined with the remains of the Belgian army to halt the Germans’ northernmost advance in October and November 1914.

In 1915 it was there that German forces for the first time used chlorine gas to break the deadlock in the trenches.