|Flanders Fields :
Ypres and 'the Salient'
For four long years Ypres was a
fortress. The British defenders knew it as ‘Wipers’. It was the gateway
to ‘The Salient’, a perilously thin defensive perimeter, overlooked on
three sides by a ruthless and determined enemy. From the high ridges to
the east and to the south, the Germans gazed down upon a shallow sea of
muddy entrenchments and improvised breastworks. Beyond them, like some
vast shell-torn graveyard, stood the ghostly ruins of what was once the
most magnificent city in Flanders.
Today Ypres is magnificent once more. Rebuilt to its original
specifications, it stands as a centre of both
commerce and Remembrance - a fitting place to honour the service
and sacrifice of a generation the like of which we will not see again.
Somewhere in France
will introduce you to ‘Eeps’ - to the
city and to its surrounding battlefields. We’ll explain the history of
The Salient by visiting some of the key locations in the area - from
the rearward town of Poperinghe (where Talbot House - or ‘Toc H’ -
remains an inspirational place of pilgrimage) to the newly restored
German defensive position at Bayernwald, south of the city. In
between, we’ll take you to Essex Farm (to learn about John McCrae and
the Poppy tradition); to nearby Yorkshire Trench (on the old British
front line); to Passchendaele and Tyne Cot, with its preserved bunkers
(the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world); to the moving
Canadian memorial at Vancouver Corner, where gas was first deployed in
1915. We’ll also explore the famous Menin Road, visiting the preserved
trench network at Sanctuary Wood (Hill 62), Hooge Crater and Hill 60.
As for Ypres itself. You’ll visit the superb ‘In Flanders Fields’
Museum (named after McCrae‘s most famous poem) and the humbling Menin
Gate Memorial to the Missing, where members of the local fire brigade
sound the Last Post each evening, prompt at eight o’ clock.
BACK TO FLANDERS FIELDS PAGE