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Yorkshire Memorial, Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres, Flanders

Yorkshire Memorial from Essex Farm Cemetery. The memorial overlooks the Ypres-Yser canal:-

Yorkshire Memorial, Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

Closer View. Inscription reads “XLIX West Riding Division 1915 1918.”

Yorkshire Memorial Essex Farm Cemetery Closer View

Dedication, “To the memory of all ranks of the 49th West Riding Division who gave their lives for King and Country in the Great War 1914 1918.”

Dedication,Yorkshire Memorial, Essex Farm Cemetery

1915, 1916 and 1917 Battle Honours:-

Yorkshire Memorial, Essex Farm Cemetery, 1915, 1916 and 1917 Battle Honours

1917 1918 Battle Honours:-

Yorkshire Memorial, Essex Farm Cemetery 1917 1918 Battle Honours

Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres (Ieper,) Flanders

Essex Farm Cemetery is located on the banks of the Ypres-Yser canal by the site of the Advanced Dressing Station where Lt Col John McCrae was serving as a medical officer when he wrote his famous poem “In Flanders Fields.” I have blogged about him previously in connection with the McCrae Memorial at Eilean Donan Castle in Lochalsh, Scotland.

The cemetery contains more than 1,000 graves. Unusually for a Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery its Cross of Sacrifice is located right at the entrance:-

Essex Farm Cemetery Ypres, Cross of Sacrifice

Graves from northwest:-

Graves at Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

From southeast. Note Yorkshire Memorial on the canal bank:-

More Graves at Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

From northeast:-

Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres, Graves

From south. Again note Yorkshire Memorial (which I shall come back to):-

Graves at Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

Graves from Yorkshire Memorial:-

View of Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

Graves from north, Yorkshire Memorial to left:-

Graves at Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

A tree trunk has grown round the gravestone of Private J MacPherson, Seaforth Highlanders, who died on 5/7/1917, aged 33:-

Commonwealth War Grave, Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

Symbolic of the fact they fought and died over the same ground the cemetery holds a German grave, Franz Heger, RIR, 238, 7/8/1916:-

German Grave, Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

Grave of Rifleman V J Strudwick, The Rifle Brigade, 14/1/1916, aged 15, said to be the youngest British Empire casualty of the Great War. (There may be some doubt about this.) It is nevertheless a focus for remembrance:-

Youngest Casualty, Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

John McCrae Commemoration stone. Written in four languages, French, Flemish, English and German, with the poem itself also inscribed on the memorial along with a facsimile of the handwritten manuscript:-

John McCrae Commemoration, Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

The bunkers at Essex Farm Cemetery where John McCrae worked as a medic:-

Bunkers at  Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

Bunker interior:-

Interior of Bunker at Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

Another bunker interior:-

Another Bunker at Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

Bunkers, looking back up to Essex Farm Cemetery grounds:-

Bunkers at Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

Information board with a photograph of how the bunkers appeared during the war:-

Information Board Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres

Lest We Forget:-

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Sneek (i)

There’s something satisfying about a town which has water in or near its centre. It nearly always brightens the place up.

Sneek (it’s pronounced snake) is a town in Friesland, in the north of The Netherlands.

Like a lot of towns in Flanders and most in The Netherlands, Sneek is built around canals. This one was right beside the road leading into the town from the motorway. The town centre is just off to the right.

Canal in Sneek,  Friesland

We parked by the side of this (different) canal:-

Canal

That was after having crossed this bridge to get to the canalside:-

Canal Bridge

And this canal is in the middle of a shopping street. Notice the “Christmas Light” style hangings over the canal:-

Canal in Sneek

Along with more standard light fittings these also appeared over the “normal” streets:-

Street in Sneek

The design is in the shape of the Waterpoort, a prominent feature of Sneek’s townscape which I’ll post about later.

This is another beautiful, leafy canal in Sneek:-

Canal

A bit further along the same canal was this striking modern theatre:-

Sneek Theatre

Some corner of a foreign field…. Wieltje Farm Cemetery

Wieltje Farm Cemetery is close to Ypres (Ieper,) Flanders, Belgium, just off the N313 road. The access is up a grassed path between two houses into a field growing crops. The path continues round the edge of the field until it is at a right angle to the cemetery to which it then leads.

115 Commonwealth servicemen of the Great War are buried here along with one German.

Wietje Farm Cemetery From Access Path

Wietje Farm Cemetery, Flanders, Belgium

Graves and Cross of Sacrifice:-

Wietje Farm Cemetery, Graves

The German grave; Unteroffizier O Hoffmeister, R Inf R, 22/9/1917. This lies off to the left of the previous photo:-

Wietje Farm Cemetery, German Grave

Poelcapelle War Cemetery, Flanders, Belgium

Poelcapelle is today spelled Poelkapelle. The village is a few miles north-east of Ypres (Ieper.) The British War Cemetery (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) is by the N313 road from Bruges (Brugge) to Ypres.

Poelcapelle War Cemetery,  Belgium

I’ve been to Tyne Cot but nevertheless still gasped when I entered Poelcapelle Cemetery. There are nearly 7,500 burials here, the vast majority, 6,230, of which are “Known unto God”.

View of interior from entrance:-

Interior of Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Graves:-

Graves, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Some of the unidentified soldiers of the Great War:-

War Graves, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Lines of graves:-

Lines of Graves, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance:-

Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Memorial to some of those whose earlier graves were destroyed in later battles:-

Memorial Stone, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

As usual the graves are beautifully kept. A Soldier of the Great War, Known unto God and Private F J Patten, Hampshire Regiment, 4/10/17, aged 21:-

Planting, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Two Soldiers of the Great War:-

More Planting, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

There is one World War 2 grave at Poelcapelle. Private R E Mills, Royal Berkshire Regiment, 30/5/1940, aged 19:

WW 2 Grave, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance:-

Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance Closer View

Hooge Crater Museum (i)

Hooge Crater Museum is on the Menin Road just at Bellewaarde, less than a stone’s throw from our hotel. The museum was described in a pamphlet we picked up in In Flanders Fields Museum as the best privately owned museum in Flanders. It’s housed in a former chapel and is utterly jam-packed with exhibits relating to the Great War.

In front of the former doors to the chapel lies this German grave marker:-

Hooge Crater Museum 3

From the Menin Road the path to the museum entrance is lined by stone, shaped as sandbags as if it were a trench:-

Hooge Crater Museum 1

Entrance and door. Again made to simulate a trench:-

Hooge Crater Museum 2

Almost the first thing you encounter in the museum proper is this Fokker DR 1. A Fokker triplane in the scarlet colours as flown by Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron:-

Hooge Crater Museum 4

Typical exhibits. (Tank track on left):-

Hooge Crater Museum 5

British Officer mannequin with part of a tank behind:-

Hooge Crater Museum 6

Trench Mortars?:-

Hooge Crater Museum 7

Cloth Hall, Ypres: In Flanders Fields Museum

With the possible exception of Saint Martin’s Cathedral, the Cloth Hall (Lakenhalle) is the most imposing building in the city of Ypres (Ieper) in Flanders, Belgium. (The cathedral’s spire can be seen to the rear.)

Cloth Hall, Ypres

The mediƦval Cloth Hall was all but totally destroyed by shelling during the Great War but lovingly restored in the years after.

There is now a lovely fountain in the paving at the front of the Hall.

Cloth Hall fountains

Flanking one of the doors to the Cloth Hall are two memorials. This one is to the French soldiers who died in defence of Ypres during the Great War:-

Ypres Memorial

And this commemorates the liberation of Ypres by Polish troops in 1944:-

WW 2 Liberation Plaque, Ypres

The Cloth Hall now houses In Flanders Fields Museum, formerly the Ypres Salient Memorial Museum:-

In Flanders Fields Museum

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