World War I Memorial sites in Flanders

The region of Flanders, Belgium is home to the town of Ypres which was where some of the most savage fighting of World War I took place. From October 1914 until near the end of the war in 1918 the area surrounding Ypres, known as the Salient, was fought over. Many men lost their lives in this area and there are several War Memorial sites where tourists can pay their respects and visit the battlefields. Here are some you may want to take a look at during your time in Flanders.

Cloth Hall

On the wall of Cloth Hall are two commemorative plaques. One is for the French soldiers who defended Ypres and the other is for Polish soldiers. The In Flanders museum is inside and is a good starting point for new visitors. There is plenty of information about the battles in Flanders and Ypres. There is another memorial just around the corner which commemorates soldiers from both World Wars.

Church and Cathedral

The British Church was the idea of Lord French of Ypres who was the first Commander-in-Chief of the British Army. He wanted a memorial church to be built at which the families of the British soldiers could pay their respects. Located near the centre of Ypres, the church is home to numerous brass plaques commemorating regiments, units and organisation. There are also plaques dedicated to the war service of nurses and individual soldiers.

The cathedral of St. Martin and St. Nicholas was one of many memorials which were rebuilt after the war. Inside is a plaque commemorating `one million dead` of the British Empire and one to commemorate the French soldiers.

The Menin Gate and The Last Post

The Menin Gate is a memorial to the missing soldiers of World War I. The names of 54,332 men who have no graves are listed representing soldiers from Britain, Ireland and the Dominions of the time. There is a ceremony names The Last Post which takes place every evening at The Menin Gate which often includes parades as well as music from choirs and bands. At 8pm the streets come to a standstill and people may pay their respects and lay a wreath.

The Lille Gate

The gate itself survived the war and inside there are signs to the many cemeteries where soldiers were buried. The Ramparts Cemetery is just beyond Lille Gate and, if you drive to the Ypres ring road, you will see an old war bunker. You can peer inside which will give you a good idea of how cramped the conditions were for the soldiers of that time.

Ypres and Flanders are both very cultured and interesting places to visit, especially given their history. The British were involved in all four battles in the town of Ypres during WWI and most of these memorials are dedicated to both Empire and British soldiers. Breaking UK news is not far away and you can also check on the latest in culture and politics online before your trip to Flanders.



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