'Ydym yn Cofio'
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow in
John McCrae 1872-1918
Motorsport welcomes you to it's Flanders Battlefields web page, for many years we have visited the battlefields, museums and monuments
of the Ieper salient and paid our most humble respect and would like offer you a
2014 is a 100 year milestone for outbreak of World
War I. The 'Great War' the War to end all Wars. We must not forget all the
Soldiers who gave their today for our to-morrow and the sacrifice that all who
fought made, their generation have now all gone, and the generation who
remembered them as Fathers, Brothers & Uncles is also drawing to a close and
memories of the living man are mainly left with grandchildren.
' They shall grow
not old, as we that are left grow old, Age shall not wary them, nor the years
condemn, at the going down of the sun and in the morning
remember them . '
Lawrence Robert Binyon 1869-1943
World War I Historic Dates
28th June, 1914 the Archduke Franz-Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary. Declarations of war followed in sequence, Germany, Russia, France, Great Britain, Belgium. Austria-Hungary, Serbia etc.,
20th September, 1914 the first Battle of the Somme, in October the front line became stabilised
it streched 470miles from the Yser river in Flanders
to the Swiss border.
1915 the war ragged with no major breakthroughs and the battlefields stretched into Dardanelles (Turkey)
1st July 1916 the battle of the Somme with some
one millon soliders and 200,000 horses in position
the first batitle was the Battle of Albert.
58,000 men fell, 20,000 killed, the Newfoundlanders lost 700 men in thirty minutes (their memorial is at Beaumont-Hamel) it was a disasterous July and continued to the end with disaster, the 38th Welsh Divison (also known as Lloyd George's Divison) at Mametz (Welsh Memorial Mametz) one Royal Welsh Fusiliers was first World War poet Siegfried Sasson
who founght along side Welsh Poet Robert Graves
who later wrote of Mametz .......
' it was full of dead Prussian Guards, big men, and dead Royal Welch Fusiliers and South Wales Borderers, little men. Not a single tree in the wood remained unbroken.'
When they counted the Welsh Divison casualties at Mametz they numbered some 3,993 with 46 Officers and 556 Soliders dead.
'This morning, twenty men buried
in one long grave, a broken mosaic
of bone linked arm in arm, their
skeletons pauded mid dance-macabre'
April America joins the War two and a half years after the sinking of the Lusitania
June the Battle of Messines (Flanders)
July to October 1917 the Third Battle of Ieper (Ypres) the battle of Passchendaele - they died in hell they called it Passchendaele
November 1917 saw the first British mass tank attack (381 tanks) at the battle of Cambrai (France)
1918 battles continued with great loss of life but at long last the War ends on the 11th November 1918.
Military and Civilian casualties were over 37 million. With more than 16 Mililon deaths and 20 Million wounded.
(Ypres) today is a beautiful Flemish City which dates back to medieval times
which was destroyed by the conflict of War and rose again offering the modern traveller all one could wish, excellent hotels, cafés , restaurants, shops,
wonderful chocolates a beer selection found no were other than in Belgium and
just on its outskirts a theme park – Bellewaerde, but what comes to most
people’s minds and the reason for visiting this magnificent City is the tragic
history its holds of the Great War 1914-1918 ‘the war to end all wars’ the Flanders Battlefields stretched throughout the Flemish countryside
which surrounds Ieper salient were some of the bloodiest battles in history such
as Passendale and Messines took place.
travelled to Flanders for many years but still find ourselves finding out new
information, during our first visits we found the number of British and
Commonwealth graves astonishing and only when you see this does it register in
your mental ability on how many laid down their lives for our to-morrow.
Field after field row after row some small some large but all
shinning with the respect they deserve. Let alone the fallen that lay in these
cemeteries, names are recorded for those with no known grave on the Menin Gate
54,896 names are recorded and again on the walls of Tyne Cot Cemetery
(Passendale) 34,984 names are carved and are still being added to
There is not
an abundance of birds, they did not all return but this is also not a depressing
place, it proves man’s ability to return from the darkest depths.
A suggested itinerary for visitors
to Ieper and the salient
Firstly we would recommend that you purchase a good map you will find in Ypres,
Poperinge & Diksmuide branches of Standaard Boekhandel an excellent book
shop the 1914-1918 Battle Map. In Ypres the shop is across the road from the
Cloth Hall and in Poperinge & Diksmuide in the main shopping area.
Cemeteries and Monuments will be sign posted along your route
Chocolates we highly recommend Calinor, by far
not the cheapest but definitely the best,
they are located in the main shopping area (Boterstraat 16)
and just out of
town at J.Capronstraat 28, Ieper
which is open on Sundays 10.00 to 12.30
Beer we find good value and
selection for beer
and wine selection at Delhaze Supermarket, it is
like our Waitrose chain, the main store
is based at Maarschalk Haiglaan 31, 8900
not open on Sundays a small franchised market
which also offers
excellent bread and cakes which
is open until lunch time on a Sunday is based on
Menin Road, look carefully for the Delhaize sign it’s easy to miss, but when you
find it the chocolate
éclairs are to die for ! Delhaize also has branches in Diskmuide & Poperinge and most major towns
A typical Delhaize store
(Ypres) Weekly Market Day
On Saturday mornings there is an open air market on the market
square, so if staying in Ieper do not park on the square on a Friday night or
you will find yourself being towed away and paying a large fine.
Solider - Sint Juliaan the monument stands on the side of the N313
on the outskirts of Ieper (Ypres) of a Canadian solider it is 12metres high
with it's head bowed and hands resting on its rifle butt, looking out over the
site of 18,000 fallen comrades and marks the area of the first mustard gas used
by the Germans in the Ypres salient.
31st July, 1917 and fighting in the 3rd Battle of Ieper - also known as the
battle of Passendale two celtic poets died one Irish and one Welsh, Edward Ledwidge and Hedd Wyn – Ellis Humphrey Evans both
are buried and remembered in Artillery Wood Cemetery. The day Hedd Wyn and Ledwidge died 31,000 soldiers died in the Battle of Pikem Ridge - The British commander in Chief, Field Marshall Douglas Haig - made the bald entry in his diary for the 31st July : " A fine day's work " . The Cemetery is on the road from Langemark
Demarcation Stone - Boezinge
If you go into Boezinge
you will see a good example of a demarcation stone just across the road from the
These stones can be
found along the battle line of the Western Front in Belgium and France. In Belgium the stones
are called ‘Demarcatiepalen’. The stones were
first introduced in 1920 to commemorate the line of departure from which the
Allies launched their victorious offensive against the Germans. During World War II
many of the stones were intentionally damaged by the Germans.
Cemetery is the largest Commonwealth Cemetery in the World it is located close
to the village of Passendale there is a recently opened visitor centre which Her
Majesty the Queen visited.
We died in hell, they called
from Tyne Cote on the way back towards Ieper is the Memorial Museum
Passchendale 1917 which can be found at Ieperstraat 5, B8980 Zonnebeke. It is an imposing building on a corner flying many flags.
Crest Farm Passendale
Canadian Memorial Crest Farm
This site is well worth a visit and isn't far from Tyne Cote Cemetery and close to the village of Passendale.
The Memorial is on high ground, planned for you to look out across a peaceful Salient, farms dotted around the countryside.
Your view is over the ground were the Third Battle of Ieper was fought one of greatest military disasters of British High Command. The loss of life was greater than the number of soliders that now serve in the British Army, many did not die by the bullet, bayonet or shell fire they just sank and drowned in the mud !
Death Poll Memorial Poperinge
inscribed with the words of Rudyard Kipling,
lost is son Jack in the War
I could not look on Death
which being know,
Men lead me to him,
lindfold and alone,
Poperinge the railway station in Poperinge is where the troops arrived following their
posting to Flanders. More than often on the arrival of the troops the German shelling would increase many thought that the Station Master was a German sympathiser. Poperinge was also their place of rest when given short leave from the
trenches and also were the death at dawn shootings took place. British and
Commonwealth military command executed 306 of its own men during the Great War.
It is with great shame that the Military Commanders and British Government of
today still feel that all of the executed shot, often recklessly shot, without
consideration of their mental health or trauma suffered still bring such shame
on their country that nearly a century on, some oftheir names still do not appear on
official war memorials.
'On the 8th November, 2006 legislation was passed by the British Government which pardoned those men in the British & Commonwealth armies who were executed '
Relatives and supporters of the executed men are
fighting to win them a posthumous pardon. Their Shot at Dawn campaign claims the soldiers were blameless because it was severe psychological
trauma, not cowardice that rendered them physically unable to cope with the
shocking scenes they had witnessed. A number of these executions were carried
out at Poperinge. It is possible to visit a death cell.
Shot at Dawn Memorial - National Memorial Arboretum
Near Alrewas, Staffordshire, England
346 Executions took place of which 322 were in Belgium and France
Poperinge is in the centre of Hop growing country and is home to a Hop Museum. The Hop Museum is close to main market square and in easy walking distance if you are parked up on the market square.
Battle of Messinnes
If you travel into or through the village of Loker you might be shocked to see an Irish Bar on the corner of the road , the bar has been there long before anyone ever thought of Irish Theme Bars. In World War I it was the Irish Regiments that took the heavy toll in the battle(s) of Messines. One Irishman who fought and gave his life in the battle was Willie Redmond, Redmond was a Major in the British Army and Member of the British Parliament, but was ultimatley a republican but believed in Irish participation in the War. He is strongly membered in Loker were he is buried and in Wexford (Republic of Ireland) were there is a square named in his memory and Redmond Memorial Park
Redmond's Grave - Loker
Carry on this road through Dranouter, there is Folk Club on your right as you enter the village of Dranouter which serves good food and an excellent restaurant on your right hand side about 100 yards after the Church. The road takes you through the Flanders countryside to Mesen, and in fact you will be travelling through what was the heart of were the battle of Messines was fought.
Peace Village Mesen
Diksmuide is in the Polders north west of Ieper (Ypres) holds history from World War I and II. During the war as the German Army approached the area the Polders were opened and flooded the area to delay their advance. The town sits on the river Yser and a boat trip can be taken to Yper.
It is home to the Ijzerten museum offering you an insight of history throughout the ages, the Ijzerten stands 84metres high and covers 22 floors.
The trench of death were Belgian regiment after regiment failed until glory was gained on the 28th September, 1918. 60,000 soliders lost their lives in the trench. There is a visitor centre on site.
Pax (Peace) Tower & Ijsertoren - Diksmuide
Black Mountain -
No trip to Ieper is complete
without a visit to the Black Mountain, take the road out of Ieper in the
direction of Dikkebus, continue towards Loker turning right onto the N372 follow
this road straight on into an interesting shopping area, alternatively you can
travel from Poperinge to Loker. You will find a good model shop ‘Domino’ which also sells beer,
spirits and cigarettes, you are on the French/Belgium boarder (Domino’s address
to set a sat nav is Bellestraat 55, 8954 Belgium) you are in the Kemmel Region,
highest ground in the
area which was heavily fought over in World War 1.
Menin Gate, the gate is one of the main points of entry into
the city, it sits at the top of a busy street just a short distance from the
market square, each night at 20.00hrs. (8.00pm) the Ieper Police close it to traffic for the
buglers of the Ieper Fire Brigade to sound the last post in honour of the
fallen, never a night goes by all seven nights of the week, fifty two weeks of
the year come rain hail or snow that there isn’t pilgrims showing their respect
and gratitude for the sacrifice given. The gate was designed by Sir Reginald
Bloomfield and unveiled in July, 1927 and remains to this day British Territory
Lille Gate, Ieper
Buglers Ieper Fire Brigade, Menin Gate
Cloth Hall (Lakenhalle), Ieper
(Lakenhalle), Ieper the Cloth Hall sits onthe main
market square and houses the In Flanders Fields Museum.
It is well worth remembering
that St. Martins Cathedral and the Cloth Hall were reduced to also rubble in
World War I, a good place to visit to see photographs of this time is the Museum
and the De Kollebloeme Café / Restaurant on the Grote Markt, to the rear of the
downstairs are excellent historic photographs of Ieper at the same time enjoy a
drink, snack or meal.
St. Georges Chapel, Ieper (Ypres)
across the road from St. Martins Cathedral. The church opened for worship March, 1929, it is an essential visit, and nearly every item in the Church has been given in memory of an individual or regiment. Eton College paid for the building of a school for the children of the British community alongside the vicarage and Church and in 1938 there were ninety-eight children in the school (they had to flee with the German advance in World War II). Since 1945 the church has served as the memorial church for all who fought and all who died in Flanders in both world wars. Remembering that many thousands of British & Commonwealth soldiers passed through Ieper in the retreat to Dunkirk in May 1940 and also in the period following liberation on the 6th September, 1944. The church belongs to the Church of England under the diocese of Gibraltar.
St. Martin's Cathedral
Essex Road Cemetery
If you travel along the road
to Boezigne from Ieper on your right you will see the Essex Cemetery where there
is a memorial stone to John McCrae the author of In Flanders Field Poem.
In Flanders Fields
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was born in
Canada in 1872 and served as surgeon in in
Ypres, he died on the 28th January, 1918
and is buried Wimereux Cemetery,
Pas-des-Calais, France. His death was caused
Hooge Crater Museum & Cafe
If you leave
Ieper on the Menin road in the direction of Geluveld you will see a sign to Hill
62, you will find a Canadian Memorial and can take a trench experience. When
you rejoin the main road and once again travel in the direction of Geluvled you
will see on the left hand side of the road opposite the Hooge Crater a museum
and café this is well worth a visit. Further along the road is the Bellewaerde
& South Wales Boarderers Monument Geluveld
this monument is not easy to find
The first battle of Ieper started on the 19th October, 1914 and almost all civilians left. On the 31st October 1914 there was heavy fighting at Geluveld after the Germans had captured the village, the mill and chateau. The chateau was recaptured for a time by the Worcestershire Regiment and the South Wales Boarderers.
Hill 60 - Zillebeke
Hill 60 was created was a railway cutting was made and the spoil was tipped on adjacent ground, one of the first regiments to fight there was the 2nd Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment, it was a bloody place and you are reminded if you visit of this with it left with the scars of war and that bodies still remain in its soil. We made a visit to Hill 60 many years my grandparents neighbour in the little South Wales village of Coytrahen 'Dolf Edwards' fought at Hill 60, Dolf liked a pint or many pints on a Saturday night in the local Nicholls Arms and would more than often wake the street on his return home singing Mademoiselle from Armentieres.
On the wet, cold windy Easter day we visited with my Father a Burma Veteran said ' I forgive him for all the times he woke me'
Monument to the 1st Australian
Tunnelling Company Hill 60
rear of St. Martins Cathedral Ieper
in memory of the fallen in the
Irish Munster Regiments
Also in Poperinge is
Talbot House just a
short walk from the market square, many
soldiers spent their time on leave at
Café & Hotel de la Paix
A good place in Poperinge to enjoy a drink or meal is the de la
Paix situated on the corner of the market square
On Fridays mornings there is an open
air market on the market square, so if staying in Poperinge do not park on the
square on a Thursday night or you will find yourself being towed away and paying
a large fine.
Market Square - Poperinge
Battle of Messines
Said by some to be the first Armageddon
of modern warfare
' Prior to the major allied offensive in the Ypres Salient, the southern frontline stretching around Wijtschate and Mesen required straightening. To assist this effort the German advanced positions on the high ground were mined with 24 charges deep underground. The Germans found out about the work, however, and attempted to interfere by using shafts and tunnels up to 40 metres deep. Eventually on 7th June 1917, 19 mines with a total of half a million ton of high explosives were detonated. The impact on the Germans was so devastating that in few hours they abandoned the entire Messines Ridge. The Battle of Messines is considered the greatest military success of the entire war. '
Irish Peace Tower
Monument to the fallen Irish Soldiers
In 1998 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
opened the (Irish) Peace Village Mesen just
a short distance from the Irish monument.
The Governments of North & Republic of
Ireland funded the building of the Peace Village.
The aim of it's building was to bring the children
of Ireland together in Messines, the place where
their ancestors fought side by side during the
First World War.
There is a Cafe and Bar inside the Peace Village
The Pool of Peace is the best known of the
16 remaining mine craters of 7 June, 1917
and has a diameter of some 75 metres. In
the near vicinity are two cemeteries with
mainly Northern Irish casualties of June, 1917
If you are looking for a guided tour of the Flanders Battlefields area there are companies who specialize in this, please click on the following links for more information :
Salient Tours are based in Ieper also based in Ieper and for a truly individual touch Battlefield Tours based on the outskirts.
ATM Machines - Hole in the Wall
Cash points in Belgium are not as evident as in the UK the majority are in the bank foyers not on outside walls. The machines are advanced compared to ours offering a variety of languages.
Some popular Banks you will see on the High Street are
Tele : 01 656 725000
E-Mail : email@example.com
Fairfield Motorsport offer packages for the independent traveller to the Flanders Battlefields / Ieper Salient if you would like to look at the hotels we offer please click here
Summer Ieper - Main Market Square
The Trench of Death (Diksmuide)
The trench of death were Belgian regiment
after regiment failed until glory was gained
on the 28th September, 1918.
60,000 soliders lost their lives in the trench.
There is a visitor centre on site.
The trench of death was active from 1914 to 1918 Belgian Regiments one after another struggled in unbearly conditions to defend the line hampering and stopping the German advance.
Towards the end the Belgian soliders were only yards from the Germans the attacks were incessant, trenches narrow and mortar attacks killed soliders like sitting ducks.
Not far away is the De
Commandobunker at Kemmel to find this on sat nav the address is
Commandobunker Kemmel, Lettingstraat, 8951 Heuvelland