“On the Road to Passchendaele” is a small company, aimed at guiding and developing initiatives and projects on the subject of the Great War. The founder and principal guide is Erwin Ureel, who has a long record in guiding and a military background.
Erwin served in Field Artillery and Logistics regiments of the Belgian Army for over thirty years, nearly half of that period in the capacity of Battery Sergeant-Major. Returning from West Germany after the Cold War, he became actively engaged in Great War research, focusing initially on the subject of the 16th Irish and 36th Ulster divisions. In 1997, he initiated a remembrance weekend for the Irish Major and Westminster MP, William Redmond, and these two Irish divisons. After obtaining his official Tourist guide badge, he was tasked by the Ypres Army barracks to lead WW1 tours, as a military guide, for Belgian and international military groups. He combined this with tours for civilian groups in his free time.
Over the next years Erwin:
- Created a number of Remembrance concerts and Tattoos. See concerts.
- Initiated and coordinated a campaign for a Scottish Memorial in Flanders. The resulting Celtic Cross in Scottish granite was unveiled at a well-attended ceremony in 2007.
- Commanded military Guards of Honour at a number of commemoration ceremonies and at funerals of British, Australian and German soldiers of the Great War,
- Officiated as stagemaster at the official “90 Years Passchendaele- ceremony”, attended by HRH Queen Elizabeth and HRH Queen Paola,
- Initiated and currently coordinates the annual Passchendaele Ceremony on 10 November, which remembers the efforts of Canadian and other troops at the end of the Third Ypres campaign.
- Created and developed the Living History educational project “ The Platoon Experience” for the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917. See education/coming to your school.
- Designed a Great War Remembrance tartan, initiated the song and pipetune “On the Road to Passchendaele” and co-founded the RBLS Passchendaele 1917 Pipes & Drums.
- Organised and lectured in a number of battlefield guiding courses for the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917.
He retired from the Army in 2010 to become a full time guide. Currently he is is one of the initiators and Chairman of the Flemish branch of a campaign aiming to raise a national Welsh memorial in Langemark. He was recently appointed Liaison Officer for Flanders by the Black Watch Association, who will raise a 1914 memorial in Zonnebeke-Geluveld in 2014. He is assisting the Royal Welsh Fusiliers Association on a 1914-2014 memorial project at Zandvoorde- Zonnebeke and is preparing a number of 2014- 2018 Centenary projects. More on some of his projects can be read on the other pages of this site.