Archives » Ieper

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

Tyne Cot Cemetery (ii)

On the path from the car park to the cemetery lie three regimental memorials.

Bedfordshire Regiment:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Bedfordshire Regiment Memorial

King’s Own Light Yorkshire Infantry Memorial:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, King's Own Light Yorkshire Infantry Memorial

Sherwood Foresters Memorial:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Sherwood Foresters Memorial

These now peaceful fields lie across the road from the cemetery entrance. The gentle slope down towards Ypres and which gave the Germans an uninterrupted view of activity in and behind the British lines can just be discerned:-

View of Fields from Tyne Cot Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice and graves:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Graves and Cross Of Sacrifice

Tyne Cot Cemetery (i)

The cemetery is in numbers of burials now the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world. It is located 9 km north-east of Ypres (Ieper) town centre, on the Tynecotstraat, a road leading from the Zonnebeekseweg. Its name derives from the nickname (Tyne Cottage) given to a German blockhouse by the Northumberland Fusiliers.

11,962 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War are buried or commemorated in Tyne Cot Cemetery. 8,374 are unidentified. In addition there are four German dead only one of whose identities is known.

Entrance:-

Entrance to Tyne Cot Cemetery

It was said to be the idea of King George V, who visited the cemetery in 1922, to erect the cross above the remains of a German pill box at the centre of the cemetery, a remnant of which was left uncovered by the white stone (centre here):-

Cross of Sacrifice and Blockhouse close

Remnant of pillbox. The inscription reads, “This was the Tyne Cot Blockhouse captured by the Australian Division 4th October 1917:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Remnant of Tyne Cottage Blockhouse

A further blockhouse incorporated into the cemetery is surrounded by graves:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery Graves and Remains of Blockhouse

Central area:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery Central Area

Cemetery from North-west corner:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery from North-west Corner

Graves containing the remains of several men:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Group Graves

A Jewish grave. It is unusual for a Commonwealth War Grave stone to indicate a religion:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Jewish grave

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.

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

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

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.

free hit counter script