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Royal British Legion members have returned to the Staffordshire Moorlands with a special plaque for the Leek Town Mayor

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: August 28, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

  • Members of the Staffordshire Moorlands branch of the Royal British Legion presenting the plaque from the mayor of Ostend, to Leek Town Mayor Keith Harrison (second from the right). From the left: Bill Vaughan, Barbara Bates, RBL group chairman Ken Pointon, Mr Harrison, and Ken Jepson.

  • The Ostend coat of arms plaque which has been handed over to Leek Town Council.

  • Members of the Staffordshire Moorlands branch of the Royal British Legion carry out an Act of Remembrance at the grave of Lieutenant Basil Nicholson in Dranouter Church Yard, near Ypres, Belgium.

  • Members of the Staffordshire Moorlands branch of the Royal British Legion Nora Clarke and Terry Alcock at the grave of Lieutenant Basil Nicholson.

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Veterans have returned to the Staffordshire Moorlands after their annual remembrance trip to Europe with a special plaque for the Leek Town Mayor.

The group of 38 members of the Staffordshire Moorlands RBL also laid a wreath at the grave of Lieutenant Basil Nicholson, whose father commissioned the building of the Nicholson War Memorial in Leek town centre.

The annual trip, which has been taking place for around three decades, involves the group attending VE Day commemorations in Belgium.

The group then join the town's Burgermeister – community leader – for a reception, and are then invited to a banquet along with other ex-servicemen from Belgium.

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This year, the Act of Remembrance was carried out at the grave of Lieutenant Basil Nicholson, the son of Sir Arthur Nicholson.

The RBL members laid a wreath on behalf of Leek Town Council and the Friends of the Nicholson War Memorial, at his grave which lays in Dranouter Church Yard, near Ypres and the French border.

Basil was the first member of the Old Leek Battery to be killed in France, dying on July 24, 1915, five months after the battery reached France.

This year, members of the Staffordshire Moorlands RBL group were presented with a special plaque depicting the Ostend Coat of Arms by the town's Burgermeister. This has now been presented to Leek mayor Keith Harrison and is set to be put up in the town council's offices.

Chairman of the RBL group, Ken Pointon, said: "Visiting Belgium is always a wonderful occasion and I hope it continues for many years."

Mr Pointon, who served in the Royal Navy between 1945 and 1948, added: "It came as a complete surprise to be presented with the Ostend Coat of Arms. We were very pleased to accept it and said that we would present it to our town mayor."

Mr Harrison added: "I shall be writing to the Burgermeister of Ostend to thank him for the plaque along with his hospitality to our RBL members each year. I am also hoping to join the RBL members next year on their trip to be able to present the Burgermeister with a Leek Town Crest to return the favour."

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