Ypres Salient, Flanders & The Menin Gate {Page 5}...

This area of Belgium is known as Flemish Flanders and Ypres (Leper) is the principal city. The Ypres Salient was formed by the Allied countries to halt and protect Germany’s advance towards the ports of Calais and Boulogne (the Race for the Sea); this resulted in the First Battle of Ypres in 1914 – 19th October to 22nd November.

The following key battles after this were:
  • The Second Battle of Ypres – 22nd April to 15th May 1915
  • Passchendaele – 31st July to 6th November 1917
  • Battle of the Lys (Fourth Battle of Ypres) – 9th April to 29th April 1918
  • The Fifth Battle of Ypres – 28th September to 2nd October 1918
It must also be noted that on top of the five main conflicts of the Salient, constant battles, offensives, exchanges and skirmishes took place in the region during the whole of the Great War. Key and infamous names and locations from this area include Messines, Wytschaete, Polygon Wood, Hill 60, Langemarck, the Lys, Sanctuary Wood, Ploegsteert Wood and Passchendaele to name but a few.

Over 1,700,000 soldiers on both sides were killed or wounded in this region of Belgium during the War years not to mention the uncounted numbers of civilians.

The City of Ypres was constantly shelled by the Germans during the whole of the war but was never taken. Nowadays it is fully restored and is resplendent with its cathedral and stunning Cloth Hall.

Flanders is now the resting place for many a soldier and is the home of numerous CWGC cemeteries and superb memorials including:

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeke, Ypres Salient Battlefields, Belgium is the largest Commonwealth Military Cemetery in the world and the resting place for 11,956.
The Menin Gate which is dedicated to the 54,896 missing service personnel of WWI, for those who laid down their life in Ypres Salient Battlefields and whom were laid to rest in unknown graves.
"In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row" - John McCrae.

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If you need Military Bands or Assistance with Honouring Veterans - Please contact your local Royal British Legion. If sadly this is for a Military Funeral or Honouring Veterans at their Funeral, the best contact points are here.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has the responsibility to ensure that 1.7 million people who died in the two world wars will never be forgotten. They care for cemeteries and memorials at 23,000 locations, in 153 countries. The CWGC values and aims, laid out in 1917, are as relevant now as they were over a 100 years ago....

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We have added a number of further pages and Picture Galleries to our website for you of The National Memorial Arboretum, the Ypres Salient, Flanders & The Menin Gate, Nord Pas de Calais, Somme, Vimy Ridge, Verdun and World War 1 Main Page and seven underpinning pages.

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The images below are:

Picture 41 {0130} - The entrance to Ploegstreet Wood Cemetery. Known as Plugstreet to the Tommies. The wood was generally quite throughout the war but would have bursts of violence. The cemetery contains  164 WW1 burials and was designed by W H Cowlishaw.

Picture 42 {0133} - Hunters Avenue in Plugstreet Wood. This was one of the main arteries on the edge of the wood. Here are hidden 8 concrete machine gun shelters. Now days the wood is used as a game reserve so access should be with caution depending upon the season.

Picture 43 {0135} -  CWGC signs on Hunters Avenue in Plugstreet Wood. These cemeteries are now amongst the most peaceful in the Salient.

Picture 44 {0098} - Lijssenhoek Cemetery. This is the second largest on the Salient and has 9901 Commonwealth and 883 other nations burrials. It is 12 km west of Ypres near Poperinge. The recent addition of a visitors centre is presented in an excellent manner and provides much information. It was first used as a cemetery by the commonwealth forces in June 1915.

Picture 45 {0097} - Lijssenhoek Cemetery. It is 12 km west of Ypres near Poperinge. The village of Lijssenhoek was situated on the main communication line between allied military bases in the rear and those of Ypres battlefields. It was close to the front line but out of range of most German artillery.

Picture 46 {0096} - As it was out of reach of most German artillery Lijssenhoek naturally became a casualty clearing station. From April 1918 to August 1918 casualty clearing stations fell back before the final German advance and field ambulances took their place. The resting place of those that died are laid to rest in Lijssenhoek Cemetery.

Picture 47 {0035} - Messines Ridge Cemetery. The view across the Salient can be clearly seen and understood why the Messines Ridge was so coveted by both sides. The German 26th Division captured the village of Messines (now Mesen) in late October/early November 1914.

Picture 48 {0034} - Memorial to the unidentified at Messines Ridge Cemetery. The village remained in German hands until the Battle of Messines in June 1917 when it was taken by the New Zealand Division.

Picture 49 {0033} - Lutyens Stone of Remembrance at Messines Ridge Cemetery. The Germans yet again recaptured the village in April 1918.

Picture 50 {0029} - The New Zealand Memorial at Messines Ridge Cemetery. The village was recaptured for the final time by the allies in September 1918.

These images are kindly provided by Ian Humphreys, RBL, and are his Copyright. You may click on the thumb nail images for the original - these are high res images and may not be used for commercial purposes without full written consent from Mr Humphreys. Each image is 3264 x 2448 pixels or 3008 x 2000 pixels and are several MB in size..

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AREA17:  So that we may all remember those that served, those injured and those that fell for the peace and security of all...