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Ypres War Memorial

Is situated on Coomansstraat just beyond the Cloth Hall, the road leading to the square dominated by Saint Martin’s Cathedral.

Ypres War Memorial

It is dedicated to all citzens of Ypres killed in the World Wars 1914-18 and 1939-45.

Ypres War Memorial Dedication

It lies within a small memorial garden:-

Ypres War Memorial

Just to the left of the main Memorial as you look at it is this one to the members of the Belgian Field Artillery incorporated into the British Army from 17/5/1915 to 17/5/1917 (when the unit was disbanded) who died in the defence of the Ypres Salient:-

Ypres War Memorial Separate Plaque

Menin Road South Cemetery

The cemetery is well inside the boundaries of Ypres/Ieper and lies on the edge of the Menin Road. It contains the remains of 1,657 soldiers of whom 118 are unidentified but 24 of these are known or believed to be buried here.

Menin Road South Cemetery

This view from the east shows the Stone of Remembrance, the Cross of Sacrifice and (at the western end) the shelter building containing the cemetery register:-

Menin Road South Cemetery, View from West

Art Deco in Ypres

I didn’t expect to find Art Deco buildings in Ypres but what else can you call this?

Art Deco House Ypres

It was on the Menin Road inside the city limits. And it wasn’t alone; the building below was on the opposite side of the road a bit further in.

Art Deco Building, Ypres

Once I’d started looking I found deco styling quite easily:-

Art Deco House, Ypres

This is the above building’s doorway. Good ironwork here too:-

Art Deco, Doorway, Ypres

Nearer the outskirts but still on the Menin Road was this brick building:-

Art Deco in Brick, Ypres

Close-up on the doorway:-

Art Deco, Brick Doorway, Ypres

On the Menin Road on the way in to town from our hotel was this. We didn’t have time to visit the museum it houses; there were too many others:-

Art Deco Building, Ypres

Look Out, There are Llamas!

One of the last things I expected to see on our trip to Ypres/Ieper was ….llamas. In a field by the Menin Road, grazing peacefully on what was a battlefield 100 years ago.

Llamas near Ypres (Ieper)

The photos were taken late in the evening when it was beginning to get dark.

Llamas Near Ypres (Ieper)

I just can’t help it. Every time I see llamas I always utter the quote which I used for this post’s title.

Hooge Crater Cemetery

Almost the first thing we did after checking in to our hotel just 3 kilometres from Ypres was to visit Hooge Crater Cemetery which was literally just the other side of the Menin Road, and lies immediately below the Bellewaerde ridge. The circular area surrounding the cross represents the area’s many craters created by mines.

Hooge Crater Cemetery Entrance

The first graves we came up to are dedicated to men either known or believed to be buried in this cemetery but whose exact grave location is unknown:-

Hooge Crater Cemetery Memorial Stones

One known soldier of the Great War and two who are in Kipling’s memorable phrase “Known Unto God”:

Hooge Crater Cemetery Graves

A memorial stone to men whose previously known graves were destroyed in subsequent battles:-

Hooge Crater Cemetery Memorial

As in all Commonwealth War Cemeteries the graves are beautifully kept:-

Hooge Crater Cemetery Line of Graves

The gravestones with regimental insignia on them are for individuals. The ones to the front here commemorate respectively five, five, five, five and four soldiers “Known unto God”:-

Hooge Crater Cemetery Communal Graves

Grave Panorama. There are now 5916 Commonwealth soldiers buried in this cemetery of whom 3,570 are unidentified.

Hooge Crater Cemetery Panorama of Graves

As the inscription on the alcove where the register of graves is kept says the cemetery is the free gift of the Belgian people for those who fell:-

Hooge Crater Cemetery  Dedication

The now peaceful scene looking back over the cemetery boundary into what was the Ypres Salient:-

View from Hooge Crater Cemetery

The Menin Gate (iii), The Last Post

There is a stairway halfway along each internal wall of the Menin Gate leading to the upper level. Here are laid wreaths brought to the Gate by various organisations.

Menin Gate Wreath Holders

The evening we were there the representatives of several schools performed that duty during the nightly Last Post ceremony to which this flag bearer was the prelude:-

Prelude to Last Post Ceremony, Menin Gate

The Last Post is played every evening at 8pm by members of Ypres Fire Brigade, a ceremony only ever interrupted since its inception by the German Occupation in World War 2 when it was apparently conducted at Brookwood Military Cemetery, in Surrey, England. On the evening of liberation in 1944 the ceremony was resumed despite fighting still taking place elsewhere in the city. A photograph of the ceremony in 1964 in In Flanders Fields Museum had few onlookers in it. The Last Post now attracts large crowds no doubt due to the greater ease of travel to Ypres from Britain and the countries of the British Commonwealth:-

Last Post Ceremony, Menin Gate

Click on the picture below to go to a short video I shot of part of the ceremony:-

Last Post

The Menin Gate (ii)

Exterior Walls on upper level; all covered in names:-

Menin Gate Exterior Wall

As are the walls on the stairs down to the road level:-

Menin Gate Stairs

In the upper garden area are two memorials to British colonial troops.

Nepalese Memorial by Menin Gate:-

Nepalese Memorial by Menin Gate

India in Flanders Fields Memorial by Menin Gate:-

India in Flanders Fields Memorial by  Menin Gate

Individual Indian and Burmese soldiers’ names on the Gate:-

Menin Gate, Indian and Burmese Names

The Menin Gate (i)

The Menin Gate is the impressive memorial to the missing soldiers of the British Empire who died in the Ypres Salient during the Great War up to 15th August 1917 but have no known grave.

The Gate from the east:-

Menin Gate, Ypres from the east

From the west. Yes, it is a functioning roadway:-

Menin Gate, Ypres, from the west

The names of the missing are inscribed on the walls. At the Memorial’s dedication one of the speakers, in an attempt to lessen the grief of the bereaved with no grave to visit said, “He is not missing. He is here.”:-

Menin Gate Interior Wall

A gentle slope leads up from the road level to a garden area. The Gate’s walls here are also covered in names of the missing. Menin Gate from south:-

Menin Gate from south

The Memorial’s dedication:-

Menin Gate Dedication

Menin Gate interior:-

Menin Gate Interior

Menin Gate Ceiling. The windows seem to allow all the names on the interior of the memorial to be illuminated sequentially as the sun travels across the sky:-

Menin Gate Ceiling

Hooge Crater Open Air Museum

As I mentioned before there was an open air museum right beside our hotel in Ypres (well, 3 kilometres from Ypres.)

A box at the entrance asked for a donation of €1. Well worth it.

This collection of war detritus just inside the entrance can also be seen in the photograph of Hooge Crater I posted here:-

Hooge Open Air Museum

This is the extreme left hand end of the crater lake/pond:-

Part of Hooge Crater

The blockhouse:-

Block House, Hooge Crater

The crater from a small bridge over part of it. The algae had receded quite a bit by next morning:-

Hooge Crater

More war remnants. Shell casings, barbed wire support struts etc:-

War Remnants, Hooge Crater Open Air Museum

Trench remnants. Originally German. From them, in 1915, was launched the first flame-thrower attack:-

Trench Remnants, Hooge Crater Open Air Museum

More trenches:-

More Trench Remnants, Hooge Crater Open Air Museum

Trenches Again, Hooge Crater Open Air Museum

Hooge Crater

The hotel we stayed in in Ypres (or, as it is now named, Ieper) lay right next to this crater formed by the explosion of British mines under German trenches in July 1915. Our bedroom had this view of the crater. The remains of a blockhouse can be seen bottom centre, crossed by the hotel’s shadow.

Hooge Crater

Back then there would have been no greenery as it would all have been blasted away. Now it is a lovely tranquil spot (if you can ignore its history) where sheep can safely graze.

Hooge Crater and a Sheep

This is the frontage of the hotel (Kasteelhof ‘t Hooghe.)

Hotel  Kasteelhof 't Hooghe in Ypres

Our room was at the side of the hotel. A door from it opened onto the right hand side of the first floor balcony.

Hotel  Side View

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