Representatives of the island’s branches of the Royal British Legion are some of the 2,200 Armed Forces veterans and supporters taking part in a First World War tribute.
The historic pilgrimage of remembrance to some of the war’s most poignant sites in France and Belgium, echoes the way that the Legion commemorated the 10th anniversary of the conflict in 1928.
A series of tours to the trenches, battlefields and cemeteries will culminate with a spectacular two-mile march to Ypres’ Menin Gate tomorrow (Wednesday), featuring 1,100 standard bearers and 1,100 wreath layers.
A service of commemoration will take place under the Gate and will include readings from the UK’s Ambassador to Belgium and the Archbishop of York, with hundreds of wreaths being laid containing messages written by school children from across the UK.
One Manx resident attending the commemoration is Alby Oldham, aged 68, of Ramsey.
Mr Oldham’s grandfather, Alfred, fought in both the First and Second World Wars, having lied about his age in 1914 and joined up while aged just 16. He explained he was one of five generations to serve, as well as himself and Alfred, his father Albert, sister Lesley Ann, son Malcolm and grandson Jamie had all served in the military and the latter three still do.
Mr Oldham said: ’I’m taking part to represent my town and those from the town who never came home.
’I will be representing my local branch of the Royal British Legion in Ramsey which is a great privilege.
’It will be humbling to tread the fields and grounds that my grandfather fought on in both world wars, and other family members who also trod the fields in those times.
’My grandfather served with the 8th Manchesters in both wars, my father served in the Pioneer Corps, I served in the King’s Regiment, my sister is serving with the 207 Field Hospital, my son the Grenadier Guards, my grand son the Royal Logistics Corps.
Alongside Ramsey, Castletown, Colby, Douglas, Lonan and Laxey and Peel and Western Legions are also represented from the island.
Members from Legion branches as far afield as Brazil, Thailand and Hong Kong and China will be paying their respects.