Södra Belgien, flanderns fält i och utanför staden Leper. En stad som aldrig glömmer som ödelades totalt under första världskriget. En plats som blev signifikativ för kriget med skyttegravskrig och en halv till en miljon människor miste livet. Staden Leper hamnade helt i ruiner och det är hemskt att se alla före och efterbilder.
Flanderns fält breder ut sig med mängder okända och kända soldaters gravstenar från alla medverkande nationaliteter som kämpade i skyttegravarna för att hålla tyska kejsardömet stånd...och de lyckades! Även många skyttevärn och gångar finns kvar och några restaurerade. 🇧🇪 #wwi#världskrig#historia#vagabond#traveler#flandern#ypres#leper
This is the interior of Saint George’s Memorial Church in Ypres, completed in 1929 to commemorate the over 500,000 British servicemen killed in the fighting for the Ypres Salient. The interior is covered in plaques commemorating individuals, groups of men (such as from certain schools) and units that fought in the region, with notable figures including Field Marshals French, Haig and Montgomery.
Another serviceman commemorated on my local memorial who’s grave I visited today is Lieutenant RC Blagrove, buried at Ypres Reservoir Cemetery. He was killed on 12 August 1915 during German shelling of Ypres. Commencing firing on St Martin’s Cathedral and the nearby square, the shelling continued for five hours. The War Diary of the 6th Battalion Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry writes: ‘Many of the men who went to rescue their comrades were themselves killed. The warning was first conveyed to Bn HQ. whereupon Major Barnett and the Adjutant Lt RC Blagrove ran over to the Cloisters to endeavour to get the men out. Both were instantly killed by the explosion of a very large shell which apparently fell in open square just N of the Cloisters.’
This is the grave of Captain Noel Chavasse VC, one of only three men to have been awarded the Victoria Cross twice, and the only one during the First World War. During the War Chavasse served in the Royal Army Medical Corps until his death on 4 August 1917. His first VC was awarded for actions at Guillemont on the 9 August 1916, and his bar for actions 31 July-2 August 1917 during the Third Battle of Ypres. Part of the citation reads: ‘For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when in action. Though severely wounded early in the action whilst carrying a wounded soldier to the Dressing Station, Capt. Chavasse refused to leave his post, and for two days not only continued to perform his duties, but in addition went out repeatedly under heavy fire to search for and attend to the wounded who were lying out. During these searches, although practically without food during this period, worn with fatigue and faint with his wound, he assisted to carry in a number of badly wounded men, over heavy and difficult ground.’
A local casualty to me of the First World War is Harvey Wright, buried in Reningeslt Military Cemetery near Poperinge. Though he was killed fighting in the 19th Canadian Battalion, he is commemorated on the memorial at Burstow in Surrey. He was killed in action on 11 May 1915, and his service record details the circumstances of his death: ‘He had been sniping and was going off duty cleaning his rifle when he exposed himself for a moment and was shot through the head by an enemy sniper.’
Reninghelst New Military Cemetery, resting place of 798 British and Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War. Their burial here is due to the fact that the village was close enough to the front line to be used as a field ambulance station.
Hill 60 and Caterpillar crater 🇧🇪 This place saw it all during WW1 - taken by the Germans and British/French back and forth, gas attacks, mines, hand grenade attacks, fighter planes overhead, underground fighting, night attacks and tunnels dug to blow the place and the men (German, French, British, South African, Australian & Canadien) to smithereens.
When the mines were detonated at 3:10 a.m. on 7 June 1917, 990,000 pounds (450,000 kg) of explosives went off under the German positions, demolishing a large part of Hill 60 and killing c. 10,000 German soldiers between Ypres and Ploegsteert.
In Belgium, we have seen graveyards WW1 as far as our eyes could reach, hundreds of pictures men fighting in the trenches, in every corner memorials for the lost soldiers in 1914-1918. Incredible how Belgium, British, France and ofcourse German men has suffered from this war. I did not know. But I missed one aspect of this war. What about the women? I know they made all the munition for the war, working day and night with deadly chemicals. There were female hero’s in resistance activities. Women drove the trams, the bus, run the stores, they worked on the land doing men’s work because there was no men left, being all sent to the front. They nurgered all the soldiers in the hospitals, keeping them alive. The women tried to do everything that was needed to keep the war running and to survive; they had to, they had no choise. They were as much a part of the war machine as men were. Meanwhile, they suffered from all their losses; their husbands, sons, nephews, fathers died or came back horribly traumatized and with severe injuries. Where are the stories of these brave women? This picture of nurse Helen Fairchild is one of the rare stories I could find at one of the cemetery’s. If you are going to see all of this impressive history, please remember then every time you see a story about the brave men, the brave women were always there at the same time. But unfortunately not always mentioned.
Highly emotional tour of #ypres and the #firstworldwar events. So many needlessly lost lives. #talbothouse is definitely worth a visit. The memory of all those souls lives on. #remembrance#rip thank you to you all. “When you go Home, tell them of us and say,
For your Tomorrow, we gave our Today”. I hope I have told you some of it.
My great grandad would have walked through this gate almost 112 years ago wondering if he would ever walk back through it. One day while carrying a stretcher they were hit by a mortar. He was found in a ditch with legs full of holes and shrapnel. He brought some of that shrapnel home with him but he was was one of the lucky ones to make it home. We’ve found the names of men in his unit with no known grave. If he wasn’t pulled out of that ditch I’m not able to stand here today. I hope that somewhere him and his mates can hear us saying thank you. Thank you for being much braver and stronger than I could ever be. It’s an honour to carry your name #williamjamesbroad#lestweforget#hero#allheroes#anzac#meningate#ypres#belgium#sirjohnmonashcentre
Hooge Crater Museum - Ypres
The Hooge Crater Museum is a private war museum located within a small church dating from the 1920's.
On the 19th July 1915 the British succeeded in eliminating German strongholds by detonating a charge of 1,700 kilograms of explosives in a tunnel driven by the Special Tunnelling Companies of Royal Engineers. The Allies rushed the crater, consolidating their advance. Such was later referred to as 'Hooge Crater'. Hooge Crater Museum contains many interesting and intriguing items ranging from weaponry to uniforms to trench art. It is the home of artefacts from countries all over the globe, with informative and fantastic displays. Well worth a visit if ever travelling near. - The beer is marvellous too! 🍻😜 #behappyandhistoryonholiday#behappyandhistory#hoogecratermuseum#warmuseum#allquietonthewesternfront#legerholidays#worldwarone#thegreatwar#ypres
Bellewaarde Ridge, with about 15 mine craters, is provisionally protected as an archaeological site. The crater field in Zillebeke near Ypres, just next to the Bellewaerde theme park, is a special place where many old craters have become natural pools. The size of the craters is unique, just like the landscape, but it is mainly what lies beneath the terrain that is of significant archaeological value. 'The crater field of Bellewaarde Ridge turns out to be the best preserved crater landscape in the Westhoek. It is a war landscape with highly differentiated, well-preserved archaeological traces. As a whole and because of the coherence of the craters and the well-preserved trench and shelter remains, it is an archaeological site with great heritage value, "said Minister Bourgeois. On the basis of aerial photos, both the German and the British front lines were located in Bellewaarde. On the terrain it appears that the trench plates of the trenches appear already ten centimeters below the grass. After the war the meadow was leveled smoothly and not cleaned up to a great depth, as a consequence the conservation level of the archaeological traces is optimal.
On 23 May 1940, the Battle of the Lys begins. With Boulogne-sur-Mer under attack and Calais surrounded, the Germans have thousands of Allied troops trapped in Northwestern France and the West of Belgium. A big part of the Allied line that is still intact runs along the River Lys (or Leie in Dutch) in Flanders, Belgium. It is held by the Belgian Army, which has been retreating from the Schelde river to relieve British troops for an Allied counter-offensive. The Belgians try their best and have some successes, but the Germans are way more powerful in the air and inflict heavy damage to the Allied and Belgian troops.
Once again, the Lys river and the area of Ypres is the scene of heavy fighting. Of course, to many veterans and local inhabitants of the area, this causes flashbacks to the immense battles that took place near Ypres during the Great War, as well as the eponymous Battle of the Lys, the German offensive along roughly the same line in the spring of 1918. Still, a lot is different these days. The Germans are not anxiously searching for a way to break through the Allied lines after years of stalemate. In contrast, they seem to be crushing the Allied efforts to turn the tide with every step they take, at least on a strategic level.
Photo: A Morris-Commercial CS8 15cwt truck passes a group of Belgian troops resting by the roadside in Louvain, 14 May 1940.
Source: Imperial War Museums, Photo no. F 4444.
‘In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row...’ Tyne Cot is the world’s largest Commonwealth war graves cemetery. Evocative, peaceful and deeply moving: a visit here is a must to those who have relatives who fought in the First World War. Have you visited?