Throughout history, War Memorials were erected to commemorate victories in battle, but today’s memorials are not to glorify war, but to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and to stand as a reminder of the horror of war, and maybe to create an understanding between former enemies in the hope that peace can be our future. Many memorials stand to the memory of the un-named dead, whereas others bear the names of the brave men and women who sadly lost their lives in these conflicts.
“They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them”
A fitting epitaph, which adorns many Commonwealth memorials. “The Ode” by Lawrence Binyon.
1. The City of Peace, Ypres, and the “In Flanders Fields Museum” conserve the link with the war past. Because it is important for those who want to speak about peace and war today. The In Flanders Fields Museum presents the story of the First World War in the West Flanders front region. It is located in the renovated Cloth Halls of Ypres. Website
2. The land south of Essex Farm was used as a dressing station cemetery from April 1915 to August 1917. The burials were made without definite plan and some of the divisions which occupied this sector may be traced in almost every part of the cemetery. It was in Essex Farm Cemetery that Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian Army Medical Corps wrote the poem ‘ In Flanders Fields’ in May 1915. The 49th Division Memorial is immediately behind the cemetery, on the canal bank.
3. First discovered in 1992 by amateur archeologists named “The Diggers” , this is the remains of a British Trench. In addition to many artefacts “The Diggers” also discovered the remains of 155 First World War soldiers.
4. Langemarck Cemetery is the only German one in the Salient and contains 44,292 burials, concentrated from many smaller cemeteries in the Salient. An oak panel just inside the entrance to the cemetery lists the names of the German missing.
5. The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is one of four British and Commonwealth memorials to the missing in the battlefield area of the Ypres Salient in Belgian Flanders. The memorial bears the names of 54,389 officers and men who fell in the Ypres Salient before 16th August 1917 and who have no known grave. Every evening at 8 o’clock Last Post is played at the Menin Gate Memorial.
6. Hill 60 is the wartime name for the high ground close to the village of Zillebeke created when a railway cutting was made here in the nineteenth century. The Mounds made from the earth excavated were named as “Hill 60?, “The Caterpillar” and “The Dump”. Here you will see evidence of fighting as well as two large mine craters.
7. More than 4.000 French soldiers are buried in Saint-Charles de Potyze Cemetery near Ypres. A further 600 unknown soldiers were interred in a mass grave. A Breton Pieta by the sculptor J. Fréour is located at the front of the site, mourning over the lost dead.
8. The memorial commemorates the Canadian First Division’s participation in the Second Battle of Ypres of World War I which included the defence against the first poison gas attacks along the Western Front. The memorial is also known as “The Brooding Soldier”
9. Tyne Cot is the largest CWGC Cemetery on the Western Front with 11,953 burials. It is the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in the world, for any war. The TYNE COT MEMORIAL forms the north-eastern boundary of Tyne Cot Cemetery and commemorates nearly 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom and New Zealand who died in the Ypres Salient after 16 August 1917 and whose graves are not known.
10. During the British offensive of 1917 times 500,000 soldiers were out of action for a gain of just 8 kilometers. Here in 100 daysPasschendaele became an international symbol of senseless war in its most cruel form. The Memorial Museum is the memory of the battle kept alive with photos – and movies, a large collection of historical objects and vividly reconstructed scenes. The eye-catcher is a subterranean corridor with communication and dressing posts, headquarters, working and sleeping. A breathtaking experience of how the British as moles living under the ground … because there was nothing left above. Website
11. This unique German site is located between the villages of Wijtschate and Voormezele near Ypres. Bayernwald is the German response to alleged nearby tunnelling efforts by the British. Bayernwald is a true-to-life reconstruction involving 300 meters of trenches. four bunkers and two mine shafts (40 meters in depth and close to 300 meters in length each). It is accessed via a footpath which passes through the restored network of trenches.
12. Pool of Peace, is the largest and most imposing mine crater in Flanders. The crater created by the explosion of mines during the Battle of 1917. What remains is a 12 foot deep pond. The site “Pool of Peace” is a peaceful slice of nature in the rolling hills.
13. Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery is the prime witness of more than four years of violent warfare. From 1915 until 1920 the hamlet of Lijssenthoek became the venue for the biggest evacuation hospital in the Ypres Salient. The cemetery now contains a total of 9,904 Commonwealth war dead and 884 graves of other nationalities (mainly German and French).
Opening Hours: Daily 09.00 to 18.00 hours. Admission: Free. Website.
14. Talbot House was built by the rich hoptraders family Lebbe in the 18th Century. Maurice Coevoet, who was a brewer, bought the house in 1911. In 1915 a bomb caused some damage to the house and that’s when Coevoet and his family decided to leave the house and to look for a safer place to stay. The house was then temporarily hired out to the 6th division of the British army. Later on Chaplain Philip “Tubby” Clayton opened a soldier’s club there. He wanted to offer an alternative for the often controversial nightlife in the rest of the city. Tubby was in charge of the clubhouse and wanted to make sure that there was a cosy and homely atmosphere for all. Website
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