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SHAPE hosts British Veterans

Deputy Supreme Commander Europe,  General Sir James Everard participated in a question and answer forum with 100 Veterans of the Artists Rifles Regiment at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe at Mons,  Belgium Nov. 9. 2018. - NATO Photo by Melanie Machnitzke OR-8,  DEU Army
MONS, Belgium – About 100 British Veterans from the Artists Rifles Association (ARA) visited Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018 as part of a visit to the area commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) General Sir James Everard briefed the veterans during their visit to the headquarters. "At 06:30 on Aug. 22nd - just outside the front gate here - Drummer Edward Thomas fired the first shot by a British soldier in World War I," said General Everard. Adding, "This weekend we remember the soldiers, sailors and airmen and women who have given their lives for something bigger than themselves."

The 1st Battalion Artist Rifles served in France and Belgium between 1914 and 1918. In Oct. 1917 they fought in the Battle of Passchendaele and on Nov. 10, 1918 the battalion suffered its last casualties outside the village of Harveng, near Mons additionally on Nov. 15 the 1st Battalion Artists Rifles took part in the British First Army's Official Entry to Mons. Over two thousand members of the Artists Rifles were killed during the First World War and at least 400 of them died in Belgium.

During their visit to the region, the veterans took part in a variety of ceremonies in local towns including St. Symphorien, Harveng, Soignies and Mons before returning to the United Kingdom on Monday, Nov. 12, 2018.

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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