Trip to Flanders and Menin Gate
To commemorate the centenary of the end of World War I.
Monday 18th June 2018
Forty-nine members and friends of Canterbury Branch of Kent FHS visited Flanders Fields to commemorate the centenary year of the end of WWI. Our guide was Peter McCourt who is a Military Historian and a fount of knowledge assisted by our Chairman David Wood.
Travelling to France via the shuttle the first port of call in Belgium was the Passchendaele Memorial Museum. The museum is most excellent, and is iceberg-like. More underground than on top creating a dugout complex that existed under Zonnebeke church. It contains a new area specifically about Passchendaele, plus a long trench experience of different styles as the war progressed which then goes back underground for a section about war and remembrance.
Our journey passed through the Ypres Salient stopping at, Essex Farm dressing station where John McCrea wrote the poem 'In Flanders's Fields'. At Tyne Cot Cemetery David, our Chairman, laid a wreath on behalf of all members of the Society. Tyne Cot is the last resting place for more than 11,900 servicemen of the British Empire from WWI.
The day ended in Ypres with a couple of hours for sightseeing, shopping and eating. Then at 7:30pm it was time to find a good place to view the very moving Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate. This ceremony takes place at 8pm every evening at the gate that bears the names of more than 54,000 soldiers who have no known grave.
Janet of Leo's Pride, who took us to Kew last year, was once again in the driving seat and was her usual excellent self.
Link to the report of Peter McCourt's recent talk 'The Four Battles of Ypres' that provided backgound information for this trip.
Thanks to Marion Steiner, Peter Humphrey and David Wood for the photos in the Gallery below.