The Prime Minister visited Belgium today to show respect for those who died in the First World War, when the centenary of the Armistice approached. Theresa May started her day at the St Symphorien military cemetery in Bergen, with wreaths at the first and last day British soldiers' graves to be killed during the war. They placed a wreath at the tombs of John Parr, the first in 1914, and the last one, George Ellison, who was killed on the western front at 9:30 am before the armistice at 11 am.
Prime Minister Theresa May lays a wreath at the tomb of John Parr, the first British soldier who was killed in 1914 at the St Symphorien military cemetery in Mons, Belgium
Later they and the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel will attend a reception where they will meet British and Belgian serving members of the armed forces. Afterwards she will travel to France and meet the French president Emmanuel Macron in Albert in the Somme region, who has undergone a considerable bombardment in the conflict. The leaders hold a private meeting and a working lunch before they leave for a wreath-laying ceremony at the nearby Thiepval Memorial. The memorial bears the names of more than 72,000 members of the armed forces who died in the battle and holds an annual commemoration for the Missing of the Somme.
A wreath in which poppies and le Bleuet are combined, the two national emblems of remembrance to Great Britain and France, will be made for the occasion. The fact that their tombs face each other is a fitting and poignant symbol that establishes the eternal bond between them Theresa May, talking about the tombs of John Parr and George Ellison. Ms. May said that the visit would be an opportunity to reflect on the time that the countries spent side by side, but also to look forward to a shared future built on peace, prosperity and friendship & # 39 ;. He added: "In St Symphorien I will have the honor of laying a wreath on behalf of a nation at the tombs of both John Parr and George Ellison, the first and last British soldiers who perished during the war. & # 39; That their tombs are opposed to each other is a fitting and poignant symbol that brings home the eternal bond between them and every member of the armed forces. Forces that gave their lives to protect what we are so dear.
Mrs May arrives at the cemetery in Mons, with the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel (left)
She arrives to lay wreaths at the graves of the first and last British soldiers who were killed in the war
The tomb of John Parr, the first British soldier killed in 1914, at the military cemetery St Symphorien
The grave of the British soldier George Edwin Ellison, the last British soldier who was killed during the war. We remember the heroes who died in the horrors of the trenches. When the sun goes down for a hundred years of commemoration, we will never forget their sacrifice. & # 39; Tomorrow, the British British Legion Memorial Party will return to the United Kingdom at the Royal Albert Hall. On the Commemorative Sunday, she will lay a wreath at the Cenotaph and attend the national service on the occasion of the centenary of the Armistice at Westminster Abbey.