The Speaker of the House of Keys, the Hon Steve Rodan SHK, is to pay tribute in Flanders to Manxmen and women who fell in the First World War.
Mr Speaker, who will be accompanied by Mr Alex Downie OBE MLC, will be among delegates attending the 49th plenary session of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly in Ashford, Kent later this month which has taken as its theme ‘commemoration of British and Irish involvement in the First World War’.
Central to the session will be a day-long visit to the battlefield sites of Flanders on Monday October 20th when delegates will be accompanied by Dr Andrew Murrison MP, Prime Minister the Rt Hon David Cameron MP’s special representative for the centenary commemoration of the First World War. The group will also include three historians: Professor Keith Jeffrey of Queen’s University, Belfast, Dr Glyn Prysor, senior historian at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWCG) and Lynelle Howson, assistant historian at CWGC.
Events planned include a visit to Ypres, specifically to the Island of Ireland Peace Park, also to the Black Watch Memorial and to the Menin Gate Memorial where, at the Last Post ceremony, Mr Speaker will lay a wreath on behalf of the people of the Isle of Man to the memory of those who fell. As current President of the Royal British Legion, Isle of Man County, he will also be playing a lament on his bagpipes at one or more of the wreath-laying ceremonies.
Mr Speaker said: ‘The British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly is a powerful forum for strengthening the close ties that link the Isle of Man, Britain and Ireland. Nowhere is this more clearly evidenced than in our united commitment to honour those who lived, fought and died in the First World War, a conflict that in some way or other, will have touched all our lives. It is fitting, therefore, that delegates will be coming together in Flanders this month to reflect on and remember those darkest of times and their lasting impact on nations and communities world wide.’
For further information:
Deputy Clerk of Tynwald
Legislative Buildings, Douglas, IM1 3PW
Tel: (01624) 685500