Torch Bearers Pilgrimage to the Western Front information meeting Thursday at Station Arts Centre

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Dear Fellow Canadians,

My name is Robin Barker-James and I am the education director of Torch Bearers Canada. We are a small group of Canadians who have been working since 2000 to promote respect, remembrance, and appreciation among citizens of all ages for the service and sacrifices made by our Armed Forces in times of war and peace.

To date we have organized seven Pilgrimages of Remembrance to European battlefields and memorials. Our last group was covered extensively by the London Free Press for the opening of the Juno Beach Centre.

At present, we are seeking volunteers who are interested in attending our October 16-30, 2014 Torch Bearers Pilgrimage to the Western Front. We are looking for self-financed delegates for our people-to-people Pilgrimage to represent Canada on the trail of Remembrance from the Swiss border in France, where the trenches of the Western Front started, all the way to the waters of the English Channel 400 miles away.

Torch Bearers is a non-profit loose affiliation of local people who carry The Torch of Remembrance locally, thereby keeping the flames of memory alive in their community. For an example visit Pilgrimages from 2014-18 are presently being planned.

This year's tour will include visits to trench sites, battlefields, forts, tunnels, memorials, military cemeteries, museums, and monuments. Delegates will gain a wealth of knowledge and perspective. Many previous delegates have called their trip the best of their lives.

The 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War reminds us how pivotal it was in forming Canada's national identity. Our soldiers, airmen, and sailors played a critical role in defeating global bullying for a horrible price.

We will visit the resting places of a million Great War soldiers and will drive past a million more. We will place tokens of appreciation on soldiers' graves and carry out acts of Remembrance. We will meet with groups of local citizens who will share stories from their families' 1914 experiences. We will participate in two nights of The Last Post at the Menin Gate.

And we'll visit Vimy, Beaumont Hamel and Ypres. We will also visit Great War sites of the French, Belgian, British, Australian, South African, American, and German armies.

The 2014 Tour will also include many sites that showcase the local history, art, culture, cuisine, architecture, and religion. This will allow us to decompress from the war sites. There will be free time in sites like Colmar, Brugge, Amsterdam, Nancy, St. Mihiel, Bar le Duc, Pont-a-Mousson, Verdun, Albert, Ypres, Bouillon, Rheims Cathedral, and Liege.

Ellison Tours of Exeter, Ont., our tour provider, has full details of this trip at You may also call me, Robin Barker-James, at 519-688-0066 for more details.


There will be an information meeting open to all people interested in joining the Pilgrimage to the Western Front, or for people just interested in learning more about military history trips, on Thursday, May 29, at 6 p.m. in the Station Arts Centre in Tillsonburg.

I will be giving a power point presentation on the Pilgrimage and sharing stories from previous trips. Information with complete details of the trip will also be available. Artifacts from the Great War will also be on display. All are welcome.

If you cannot attend, please visit the Ellison Travel website or call Robin at 519-688-0066.

Robin Barker-James



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