Theresa May’s convoy accident interrupts Armistice Day trip

Theresa May’s trip to Belgium to mark the centenary of Armistice Day was interrupted when two police motorbikes in the convoy she was travelling in were knocked over.

The prime minister was leaving a wreath-laying ceremony with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel when a sharp traffic stop caused the motorcyclists to fall off.

Mr Michel got out of his car and knelt on the road to check the police officers’ condition, according to local media.

The two motorcyclists were taken to hospital but no-one else was injured, the DH newspaper said.

The message on a wreath that Theresa May placed at the grave of John Parr, the first British soldier to be killed in 1914, at the St Symphorien Military Cemetery in Mons
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Mrs May’s message: ‘They were staunch to the end’

Earlier, Mrs May had been in Saint-Symphorien to visit the graves of the first and last British soldiers to be killed in World War One.

John Parr of the Middlesex Regiment died on 21 August 1914, while Private George Ellison of the Royal Irish Lancers was killed on the Western Front on 11 November 1918 – 90 minutes before the armistice came into effect.

In the note left by the resting place of Private Parr, Mrs May quoted a line of wartime poetry The Soldier, written by Rupert Brooke.

She wrote: “There is in that rich earth a richer dust concealed.”

Theresa May at the St Symphorien Military Cemetery in Mons
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The prime minister also laid a wreath to George Ellison

At the grave of Private Ellison, also in blue pen on a headed Downing Street card attached to the garland of poppies, Mrs May wrote: “They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted … We will remember them.”

The line was from a poem written by Laurence Binyon and published in September 1914, which is often quoted in Remembrance Sunday services.

Mrs May later travelled to Albert, the town at the heart of the French Somme region, where she was seen smiling and waving with President Emmanuel Macron.

The leaders held a private meeting and working lunch, before they are due to depart for a wreath-laying ceremony at the nearby Thiepval Memorial.

The site bears the names of more than 72,000 members of the armed forces who died in battle and holds an annual commemoration for the Missing of the Somme.

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