Irish Peace Park

Our World War 1 expedition finished at the Irish Peace Park. Another place I hadn’t planned on visiting but with our Irish links and the proximity to Ypres decided¬†we must. A bit tricky to find, right in the middle of the Belgian countryside but when the replica Irish tower loomed on the horizon we were…

Tyne Cot – The Silent City

At every turn around Ypres there is a sign for a World War 1 cemetery. We decided to visit Tyne Cot, just a short drive from Zonnebeke and Ypres and the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the world. Parking at the side of the road, we started our visit at the very impressive and well laid…

Trenches and Dugouts at Passchendaele

The Passchendaele 1917 Museum was not one I had researched or planned to visit during this trip. Not sure what there was to see and do, but having spotted leaflets just about everywhere we went in Flanders I thought we might as well go¬†since we were in the area. The little village of Zonnebeke is…

Sanctuary Wood

Our second day visiting the World War 1 sites saw us drive back towards Ypres but this time follow signs for Sanctuary Wood. This is a fascinating place. More than one hundred years after the first shots were fired in this terrible conflict, you can still see the trenches, shells and muddy craters in one…

The Menin Gate

At 8pm every night since 1928 – with the exception of the German occupation in World War 2 – buglers from the fire brigade of Ypres have stopped the traffic and performed a simple act of remembrance at the Menin Gate. It is their tribute to those who gave their lives in World War 1…

Around Ypres

Ypres is pretty and civilised, a charming little place whose streets are peppered with smart little bars, patisseries and boutiques. A century ago it was all so different. I read somewhere this was “Britain’s cockpit of war,” apt words. Too close to the Channel ports to relinquish and almost impossible to prize from the Germans…

In Flanders Fields….

“In Flanders Fields the poppies grow, between the crosses row on row…..” the most famous poem about World War 1 was written by Canadian surgeon Major John McCrae in response to what he saw at Ypres. Bright red poppies grow wild here, apparently you can still see them blooming every spring around the little Belgian…