A couple from the Vale of Belvoir have been reflecting on the moving experience of attending a service to mark the 100th anniversary of a First World War battle alongside members of the royal family and heads of state.
Geoff and Judy Goodson, of Eastwell, ‘won’ two tickets in a Commonwealth War Graves Commission ballot to attend the honouring of service personnel who fell at Passchendaele.
Geoff was keen to go to the service in the fields of Flanders in Belgium because his father’s cousin, Thomas Bernard Goodson was killed in the battle.
They were among the guests at a spectacular televised event in Ypres town square on July 31 which was broadcast live on television here.
The couple visited the Tyne Cot military cemetery the following day, where another televised service was held.
Thomas Bernard’s name is listed on the memorial wall there as he is one of 34,000 troops with no known grave.
Geoff said: “We left a photograph of him and a small cross with a poppy, by the base of the tablet.
“The two days we spent in Flanders were very moving and memorable for us.
“Just to be a part of it gave us goosebumps and some idea of the enormity of the suffering and sacrifice of the thousands of soldiers of the commonwealth who fought and died there.”
Thomas Bernard was born in 1898 in Stathern and grew up in Eastwell.
He was killed in action on November 5, 1917, the day before the Battle of Passchendaele ended.
He was just 19 years old.