Archives » War Memorials

The Price of Sovereignty

This is where division in and, in the UK’s case, from Europe leads:-

Graves and Memorial Cross, Tyne Cot Cemetery
Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeeke, Belgium

German War Graves, Langemark, Belgium
Langemark War Cemetery, Langemark-Poelkapelle, Belgium

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

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

Away Days

My most recent posts have been rather focused on photographs. This is because I’ve been away. Myself and the good lady have been in The Netherlands again and this time also in Belgium.

We drove down through England (and back up again) to and from the ferry and through the Netherlands and Belgium top to bottom and back. I’m a bit knackered.

But…… I have seen Ypres (nowadays spelled Ieper) and the Menin Gate where we witnessed the nightly Last Post. We walked along the Menin Road, a place I had only ever read about or seen in photographs in a shell shattered state, passing Hellfire Corner on the way.

The hotel we stayed in was right beside the Hooghe Crater and across the Menin Road from the Hooge Crater Commonwealth War Cemetery (note the British spelling.) Right by the hotel there was an open air Great War Museum which encompassed the crater and some trench remnants. The Front Line straddled that part of the Menin Road from 1915-1917. Hooghe was where the first use of flame throwers in a concerted action took place when the Germans made an attack on July 30th 1915. The trenches were apparently only 4.5 metres (4.9 yards) apart there. The flamethrower’s maximum range was 18 metres (20 yards.)

Strange to think I slept only a few more metres away from the spot. It’s all so peaceful there now but reminders of that war are everywhere as the area is covered in War Cemeteries and Memorial sites – too many for us to visit them all.

Freuchie War Memorial

Freuchie is a village in Fife situated just off the A 92, north of Glenrothes, about three miles or so from Son of the Rock Acres.

Freuchie was once used as a place of banishment form the nearby Royal Court at Falkland Palace but is perhaps most famous now for its cricket team reaching and winning – at Lord’s – the village cricket championship in 1985. Falkland also has a cricket team.

Freuchie’s War Memorial lies in a triangular shaped kind of traffic island hard by the local church on the mainroad through the town, the B 936 .

Freuchie War Memorial

Showing inscriptions. 1914-19 names on plaque, 1939-45 on pedestal. (The Lomond Hills Hotel is in the background):-

Freuchie War Memorial

Commonwealth War Graves, St Andrews

I noticed the sign for Commonwealth War Graves as we were passing St Andrews Cemetery on Strathkiness Road and stopped to take photos on the way back home. Commonwealth War Grave stones are easily picked out by their distinctive shape and colour, though some of these were in grey granite rather than the usual off-white. I also found the grave of a member of the Polish Forces.

There were twelve graves in all.

Gunner A M Pirie, RA, 6/8/1942.
Bombardier D B Tulleth, RA, 12/11/1944, age 36.
Private F Dickinson, KOYLI, 15/8/1940, age 24.
Private J McIvor, Black Watch, 19/7/1915.
H C Barr, Merchant Navy, 7/2/1946, age 41.
Driver J Thomson, RE, 10/6/1946, age 19.
Guardsman W Murray, Scots Guards, 23/7/1945, age 29.
PIT S Glabinski, Polish Forces, 13/2/1941, age 34.
Sergeant W H Stewart, RAF, 11/7/1944, age 43.
Private F Higgins, HLI, 19/5/1918.
Private T Robinson, Cameronians, 26/7/1918.
Able Seaman F Shearer, RN, 25/12/1918.

Commonwealth War Grave St Andrew's 1
Commonwealth War Grave St Andrew's 2
Commonwealth War Grave St Andrew's 3
Commonwealth War Grave St Andrew's 4
Commonwealth War Grave St Andrew's 5
Commonwealth War Grave St Andrew's 6
Commonwealth War Grave St Andrew's 7
Polish War Grave St Andrew's
Commonwealth War Grave St Andrew's 8
Commonwealth War Grave St Andrew's 9
Commonwealth War Grave St Andrew's 10
Commonwealth War Grave St Andrew's 11

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