Bugle players Last Post in Ypres named honorary citizens of New Zealand city

Two bugle players of the Last Post in Ypres were appointed as honorary citizens of the city of Hamilton in New Zealand. The two Flemings received the title symbolically after the Last Post on Thursday, which was Anzac Day, the day on which New Zealand and Australia commemorate victims of war.

Bugle players Raf Decombel and Rik Vandekerckhove may now call themselves honorary citizens of Hamilton. They received the title from the mayor of the New Zealand city, Paula Southgate, who was in Ypres yesterday at the occasion of Anzac Day.

Anzac Day, on 25 April, is the national day of commemoration of New Zealand and Australia for victims of war and for the recognition of the role of their armed forces. On this day in 1915, the 'Australian and New Zealand Army Corps' (ANZAC) entered the First World War.

“Thank you for the service that you have given to us over many years,” said mayor Paula Southgate as she handed Decombel and Vandekerckhove their titles. The bugle players have for years been participating in the famous Last Post Ceremony in Ypres. Every evening at 8 pm, a group of buglers play the ‘Last Post’ under the Menin Gate war memorial, as a daily tribute to the courage and self-sacrifice of the many British and Commonwealth soldiers who fought and died in the region during the First World War.

According to Benoit Mottrie, president of the Last Post Association, there has been a good relationship with the city of Hamilton for years. “I have already been for a visit with Raf and Rik back in 2007 and we have kept in touch all these years, with regular visits from both sides.”

Mottrie also stressed the importance of maintaining a strong bond with New Zealand. “With the Last Post, we of course also commemorate people from New Zealand who died here,” he said. “It’s very satisfying that they appreciate in New Zealand what we do here.”

#FlandersNewsService | The Last Post at the Menin Gate war memorial in Ypres © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

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