Dec
03

A Day In The Area Close to Ypres

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Brandhoek Cemetery is the place where Captain Noel Chavasse was laid to rest. Captain Chavasse is one of only 3 soldiers to have been granted Britain’s highest medal for bravery, the Victoria Cross. Furthermore, he has also been granted the Military Cross. I am currently reading through a book called “In Foreign Fields” by Dan Collins and it is about soldiers who have been awarded medals in Afghanistan and Iraq. Once you understand exactly what a soldier was required to do so as to be granted an MC, it truly forces you to appreciate what a courageous person Captain Chavasse was especially when he was a member of the Royal Medical Corps and never fired a shot all through the conflict.

My subsequent stop was close to the village of Passchendaele at the largest British Military Cemetery at Tynecot. Around 12,000 troopers lie buried here. From the cemetery, you will look out for several miles in all directions across fields and it seems tough to think of the horror that had been there 90 years ago. The visitors centre provides a background of the area and the names of some of the fallen and missing are put out quietly over speakers.

From Tynecot, I began to return in the direction of Ypres stopping at Hill 61 (Sanctuary Wood) on the way back. There’s a small museum and a few conserved trenches here. In the course of my visit, the temperatures wasn’t kind and even if it had been nothing like as lousy as conditions might have been in the course of The Great War, the bottom of the trenches still looked rather dreadful. It cost a few Euros to get in and this was the first time I really began to view the effects of the famous mud.

My following planned stop was the Hooge Crater. As earlier during the day, I had a hard time trying to locate it nevertheless I saw a small independent museum known as the Hooge Crater Museum which in fact had a compelling variety of artefacts such as a British Ambulance and a Victoria Cross. My sightseeing for the day wasn’t finished as I still needed to check out the popular Cloth Hall which was almost ruined (since totally reconstructed) plus the Last Post ceremony which is carried out at 8pm every night at the Menin Gate. I always find the Last Post incredibly haunting and moving to listen to. After it was finished, two wreaths were laid by young British soldiers and was followed by a recital from Laurence Binyon’s “For The Fallen”

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

Categories : Big Blue Marble, Europe

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