One cold February evening I was at the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ieper (Ypres) Belgium. There was only a few dozen people braving the weather, and watching the buglers sounding the Last Post in a salute to the Fallen of the Great War, and to the 55,000 names on the Gate who have no known grave. I have guided many groups over the last 15 years and I have witnessed their many emotions. Some of these have affected me personally, and I fervently believe that the Menin Gate is the spiritual home of some of the Mighty Fallen of the Great War. The Australian artist Will Longstaff felt that when in 1928 he painted the famous painting which now hangs in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. The ghostly silhouettes of the soldiers were gathered in their thousands around the Menin Gate, as though this place was to be the hub of their ghostly existence for all time. I thought I saw the spectre of a WW1 soldier standing against the stonework, and I went away with a deep feeling that those spirits had reached out to me and touched me.
By 9th July 2015, the Last Post at the Menin Gate will have been sounded by the buglers an amazing 30,000 times since the Gate opened in 1928.
My song is a tribute to the faith and dedication of those buglers; to the memory of those killed in the war, and whilst they mill in their ghostly spheres, they may well be watching us. It is also a tribute to all those of you who, over the years, by your attendance, your pilgrimages and your stalwart determination not to let their names and sacrifice be forgotten, have displayed your big, big hearts.