In Flanders Fields - West London visit to Ypres
In Flanders Fields.
Over a long weekend Fri 21st - Mon 24th April , seven from West London visited Ypres.
Charles had booked some superb accommodation in the centre of town, allowing us easy access to attend The Last Post Ceremony, which takes place every day at The Menin Gate.
The Menin Gate as it is now - built between 1923-1927
It had to be rebuilt after damage in WW2
The Last Post is played here every evening at 8.00pm
The caption translates as : 'To all Soldiers and Citizens of Ypres - victims of the violence of the World war 1939-1945
The gradual destruction of Ypres during World War One was epitomised by the ruined 13th century Cloth Hall, which also came to symbolise the effect of war upon western civilisation. Since the war, the Cloth Hall has been meticulously rebuilt to its original form and it now houses the Flanders Fields Museum.
The Cloth Hall, which houses The In Flanders Fields Museum, had to be rebuilt after each war, Brilliantly laid out, this pulls no punches in showing the horrors and sacrifices of The First World War. It gives an almost impartial view of the often-flawed military strategies of all sides. Some of the statistics are difficult to take in
We also visited the nearby Tyne Cot Cemetery, impeccably maintained, just one of many in the area
Tyne Cot Cemetery is the resting place of 11,954 soldiers of the Commonwealth Forces. This is the largest number of burials contained in any Commonwealth cemetery of either the First or Second World War. It is the largest Commonwealth military cemetery in the world.
The museum exhibits illustrated the weaponry in those days and nature of hand-to-hand fighting
We walked around and through the actual areas where others had stood and fought 100+ years before. See below as we literally walked in the footsteps of the Belgian soldiers
Inside the yellow outlined area you can see a Belgian footprint from WW1
Steve Cribbin's boot placed in that exact same space over 100 years later
It only rained everyday - which in a strange way seemed quite trivial in comparison to the months of rain which had so infamously reduced the whole area to a quagmire during the battles there.
But it was by no means all a sombre weekend - very hospitable and friendly locals, great food and lots of Belgian beer
So here are some lighter memories of our trip
A man's gotta eat ...
...and drink ...
We sampled the local weather
...got lots of exercise
The gang on our visit to Tyne Cot (courtesy of Jude)
Off for a night out on the town! (courtesy of Dan)
Our last night out - and a big thank-you to Charles for organising the trip