During the Burial of a WW1 Scots Soldier in Belgium,a very Portly Chap turned up Dressed as A WW1 Scots Private Soldier,the C.S.M. in Charge of the Burial Party "Politely" asked Him in Broad Scots Vernacular to Please Vacate Himself from the Vicinity of the Burial Service without Delay or He might befall with an Accident...Exit One Large Huffing Puffing Blimp.
I regret to say that this isn't true. I was there too, commanding the Belgian Guard of honour (real soldiers, no reenactors
). Being local, I also knew the chap who turned up in the uniform. I haven't heard the discussion between CSM Steele of the Regiment of the Highlanders and the man but the result of it was that he was invited to attend the ceremony.
I know the reenactor and although he is a comrade of mine and I have certainly no problems with reenactment on well chosen moments and places (esepcially in educational projects), I thought this wasn't the most suitable moment to turn up, dressed as a soldier (to say the least). I explained him my point of view afterwards and he insists that he was invited by the family. I know he is a good chap and it was all well meant so I think he just misjudged the situation. To his defence I also want to point out that he stayed in the background during the ceremony. There are worse cases. About two years ago, there were UK reenactors on a funeral on Cement House who wanted to fire a volley when the coffins were lowered. Luckily the people of the CWGC asked them politely to watch the entrance gate of the cemetery instead.
If a soldier is buried, IMHO the ceremony is an affair of his comrades-soldiers, even if it's ninety years after. No problem if any other visitors attend to reflect but basically this is a soldiers and family- thing. What strikes me is that many of these reenactors have never been in the Forces themselves which might be a reason that they do not always understand our ethos. Having said this, I also want to stress they are not the only ones to blame. Many other people in and outside of the WW1-scene are using these occasions to promote themselves or their institutions, sometimes in a very disgusting way.
About the Germans: they collect their dead till they have a sufficient number (mostly between 20- 30) to organise a ceremony on Langemark German Cemetery so there is often a two year period between these burials. There will be a ceremony again this summer.