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‘’During the original pilgrimage in 1928, the South West British Legion were know as ‘Party D’. This comprised of members from Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire & Dorset.
‘Party D’ were billeted in the French town of St. Omer, and at the end of their very successful stay, the town mayor presented the Party leader (Mr. Percy Barton) with a scroll recording that all Pilgrims of ‘D Party’ had been enrolled Honorary Citizens of St. Omer. That same scroll turned up in an antique shop in Honiton about 16 years ago. It was purchased by a former Royal Marine turned Battlefield Tour Guide, and for the last ten years it has hung on the living room wall of his French farmhouse on the Somme.
The scroll is dated 7th Aug 1928 and is signed by the mayor. The handwritten inscription denotes that it was:
‘Presented by the Mayor of St. Omer to the members of the South West Division of the British Legion, adopted citizens of the town of St. Omer’
The scroll is now on display in the Plymouth Pop In (on loan). Photographs from the souvenir book ‘The Story of An Epic Pilgrimage’, show a drawing of the scroll and details the story of ‘Party D’ and their pilgrimage. Of particular note to Cornwall is the success of the chief French translator M. Pierre Isore, who was enrolled as an Honorary Member of the Truro Branch of the British Legion!
Attached are a few photos to illustrate this remarkable reunion of a scroll from a small French Town, and our very own West County. I assume that we are still all honorary citizens of St. Omer and we can turn up and expect a right Royal welcome!!
If anyone has any stories of the original Pilgrimage then the County Membership Support Officer would be very interested to hear them’’. He can be contacted at:firstname.lastname@example.org
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