On Friday morning, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, stopped at the Saint-Symphorien military cemetery, near Mons, as part of the weekend of centenary commemorations for the Armistice. Theresa May and the Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel, both paid tribute there to fallen soldiers who lost their lives during the First World War.
Theresa May and Charles Michel laid wreaths of white roses and poppies, as part of a ceremony. These were specifically placed upon on the graves of John Parr, of the Middlesex Regiment, the British first soldier to die during the First World War, on August 21st, 1914, and George Ellison, of the 5th Royal Lancers, the last British soldier to die in combat during the First World War, on November 11th, 1918. The poppy is associated with Commonwealth soldiers who died during the 1914-18 war.
The British and Belgian prime ministers then walked around the Saint-Symphorien military cemetery before going to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (known as “SHAPE”) in Casteau. Once there they met representatives of the British community. Theresa May then headed for France where she will participate, over the weekend, in the Armistice centenary commemorations.
Charles Michel will take part on Saturday in the inauguration of the Price memorial in Ville-sur-Haine (Le Roeulx). George Lawrence Price was the last Commonwealth soldier to die during the First World War. Charles Michel will then go to Paris where he will take part in a dinner hosted by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, at the Musée d’Orsay.
Both Theresa May and Charles Michel will be involved, on Sunday November 11th, in the international ceremony for the Armistice centenary at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.