A TEAM of UK Armed Forces personnel are walking 30km as part of a commemorative tour around the battlefield sites of Gallipoli accompanied by the match ball that will be used in this year’s Army v Navy rugby match.
Led by the Royal Navy’s Lt Cdr Doc Cox, the group includes British Army colleagues WO2 Adam Finch, Capt Hugo Engelbrecht and Sgt Sid Ney and will be supported on the day by Capt Roly Jackson. The team will set off at sunrise on Sunday 22 April from V Beach taking in poignant sites across the region where 58,000 allied soldiers – including 29,000 British and Irish soldiers and 11,000 Australians and New Zealanders – lost their lives.
Currently working for NATO and all with recent operational experience, the walkers are raising money for the Royal British Legion (RBL) which is the chosen charity at this year’s rugby clash at Twickenham.
Former C-IED expert Hugo Engel Brech, said: “We all know personally fellow Servicemen and women that have been injured on operations and thank the RBL for their continued support to those and others like them. The walk is aimed at remembering the past whilst supporting the future.”
Doc, who previously served as director of UK Armed Forces rugby and is now an ambassador for the sport, said: “I have had the pleasure of being associated with the RBL through combined service and UKAF rugby for the past five years. The charity has sponsored us, and it also had a huge presence at various matches. They support the Armed Forces community at every stage of their lives. Remembrance for me is not about one day of the year it’s every day.”
On Saturday 5 May, Doc will be handing over the match ball at the Rose and Poppy Gate at Twickenham stadium. The gates were unveiled two years ago as part of the RFU’s First World War commemorations, honouring players killed in action from 1914 onwards. Seven of the 1914 England grand slam-winning team and thousands of rugby players at every level of the game left the playing field for the battlefield, never to return.
The Legion will be hosting various activities at the Army v Navy game both on and off the pitch under its theme ‘One Legion – United by Difference’, which will explore the differences between the British Army and the Royal Navy that ultimately make them so strong when they stand together.
In this Armistice year, the Legion is leading the nation in coming together to say thank you to the First World War generation. In front of 82,000 rugby fans, the RBL will demonstrate that while we all have our own strengths, it is playing to these strengths that unites us. Never was this truer than a century ago when soldier, sailor, marine and airman fought together for peace.
The walkers are hoping to raise £2,000 and there’s a dedicated JustGiving page where you can help support them. Visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/GallipoliGallop20172018 to make a donation.