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First Visit to Ypres to visit sights where Great Grandad went before d


Martin Knowles
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Hi,

I have posted before about my Great Grandad who died at Dead Man's Farm (Percy Hendy 2nd Btn Hampshire Regiment) 1mile south of Proven on 1 July 1917.

I am coming over to Belgium next week 27/28 February with my brother who knows nothing about his Great Grandad's death. Aurel Sercu and Marc Thompson have helped in the past and I know from them approximately where he died (see above). We have booked into a hotel in Ypres for the evening and have booked the eurotunnel from Folkestone early on Friday morning. We return late on Saturday.

From the information I have received I know where he was fatally injured (Dead Man's Farm) and where he is buried (Mendinghem Cemetary).

As he only spent 2 days in Belgium before he was killed I would like to try to trace a few of the sights that he may have seen on the way there.

I know from the War Diary that he was at the following locations:

May 29th 1917 - 2nd June 1917 - France - Lancher Lane;

June 3rd 1917 - France in Arras

June 4th - 26th 1917 - Candas - Fieffes (on 26th)

June 26th 1917 - Doullens

June 27th - Belgium (Proven)

June 28th - Belgium - Dead Man's Farm 1 mile south of Proven

Are there any museums along this route that may help me and especially my brother get a feel for the way of living/experience that he may have had on his journey into Belgium. Being from the Isle of Wight I suspect that for my Great Grandad this was all new as most people on the Island at the time had hardly left it?

Obviously we only have the best part of a day to take it all in which will obviously will not be enough. However, what I Have thougt of so far is:

1. Talbot House (because of references to CCS46 where he eventually died of wounds);

2. Mendinghem Cemetary (his burial place);

3. Visiting the location close to Dead Man's Farm;

4. Menim Gate (in the evening for the last post);

Is there anywhere else that would assist me and my brother in our journey to try to understand a bit more based on his route into Belgium and the limited time that we have.

Any comments would be gratefully received.

Best wishes,

Martin

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you will find that that is plenty if only one day, i hope you have a good trip.

mandy

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If you have time left over you could always go to the museum on the square in Ypres

Kind regards Patrick

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Thanks Patrick,

I will give that a try if we have time. We are there on Saturday morning as well. Does the museum have a name or is it obvious by the location?

Best wishes,

Martin

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the museum is in the cloth hall you cant miss it, didnt mention it sorry but i personally dont like it now since they changed it, the shopw has some good bits and pieces in it thhough.

mandy

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That one is near to tyne cot cemetery too which is worth a visit if you have the time, the biggest in europe,

mandy

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Thanks for the information so far... I am very excited about the trip but that is because I believe that I have hopefully at least >10% of the thoughts that my Great Granddad went through just by reading comments on the site and reading a few books. My main concern is to provide to my (older) brother the same interest in a couple of days (with no prior experience but a similar interest to find out) that I have. Hence the reason for the questions. What I would like to do is to be able to make hime relect on WW1 in a couple of days. I'm sure that seeing his grave will be enough!

Best wishes,

Martin

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The Passchendaele Museum, near the church in the middle of Zonnebeke, is excellent - as said above - with an amazing trench recreation inside. Here's the website. I think this would be much more worth taking your brother to than the "In Flanders Fields" exhibition (in the Cloth Hall on the main square of Ypres, website), which seems to be much more aimed at school parties.

The sheer scale of Tyne Cot is amazing to a first-time visitor, and the voice reading out the names of the fallen as you approach the new visitor centre there is very moving.

You could easily spend a couple of hours at Talbot House, so it's better to take your time over these things rather than rush from one to another and try and cram too much in.

I am sure your brother will be bitten by "the bug", and will be keen to return for a longer visit!

Angela

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Since you are going to Pop, to visit Talbot House, why not see the other side of things with a visit to the condemned cells?

If you park in the square, you can't miss the Town Hall (with an Info centre underneath). Walk towards the Town Hall, then down the smal street imediately to its left as you face the front. About 50 years down, on your right, there is the entrance to a quadrangle. Turn in and then the small door immediately right. You will be in the two cells used to keep men facing death at dawn the next day. When you come out, turn right into the quad and you will see the execution post against the far wall.

Having been to the cells, cross the Square to the road immediately opposite (there is a cafe on the corner), go past the supermarket (where you can buy a metre of beer!), and Talbot house is about 200 yeards on the right. The entrance is just beyond the front door, down the side street on the right.

Enjoy it all. Take tea in the house (they don't seem to do coffee!), but I always make a point of sitting for a few moments at the very top end of the garden. There is nowhere on the Western Front where I feel closer to "them".

Enjoy your trip, and I hope your brother gets "bitten by the bug".

Bruce

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Martin

My advice would be not cram too much into one trip. Visit the sites that are of greatest significance - where he was wounded, where he is buried, etc - and give yourselves time to absorb their atmosphere and their place in the world.

John

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That's good advice John.

I've seen many people dash about spending 20 minutes here and half an hour there, just to say they have 'done' a certain place. They come away frustrated, knowing little and understanding almost nothing.

Martin,

I hope you can use this trip as a recce and you and your brother return to the area for a more in-depth, less hurried trip enabling you to really absorb the bigger picture. You will be rewarded for the preparatory work you put in.

Have a great trip.

Cheers,

Nigel

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Thanks - I am trying to prepare an itinery and agree that for a first visit it is best to take in the key sites (e.g. cemetary, wounded location) on the Friday as well as hopefully getting a flavour from Pop as well as Menin Gate in the evening. On the Saturday hopefully we can either visit a museum in Ypres or at the moment I'm in favour of Tyne Cot. I'm sure that this will be the first of many visits!

Best wishes,

Martin

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Hi Martin,

Where are you staying in Ypres ?

Peter

Peter,

In answer to your question we are staying at "HOTEL RESTAURANT OLD TOM GROTE MARKT 8 8900 IEPER". I'm not sure what it is like as my brother has booked it!

Regards,

Martin

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As you are already going to Mendinghem Cemetery you may wish to visit the grave of Lieut-Col Best-Dunkley VC and also the graves of the 3 shot at dawn.

This website is quite useful for more information.

http://www.ww1cemeteries.com/ww1cemeteries...arycemetery.htm

I find nothing more frustrating than to get back to the UK and find I was yards away from another point of interest.

Its really difficult to find the right balance on a short trip between dashing around and taking your time. I suspect you will revisit. Already you have a fair bit of journeying around if you are taking in Mendinghem/Ypres centre/Pop and TocH.

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Peter,

In answer to your question we are staying at "HOTEL RESTAURANT OLD TOM GROTE MARKT 8 8900 IEPER". I'm not sure what it is like as my brother has booked it!

Regards,

Martin

The old Tom brings a smile to my face, my first visit to Ypres was last April, "The Old Tom" very first pub we (there was three of us) called to, mate asked for three pints of beer, 18 euro !!!! he nearly died on the spot, it seems they gave him the dearest beer they had, the next round was mine so I ordered another beer,, nine euro 90 cent for the three, we still pull his leg over it.

Like you this was our first trip, and we stayed four nights in Ypres, toured all day, and a few beers at night, you will have a good time, and once the bug bites, you will be back.

Peter

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That one is near to tyne cot cemetery too which is worth a visit if you have the time, the biggest in europe,

mandy

it's the biggest Commonwealth War Graves Commision cemetery in the world, but it's only the fourth biggest war cemetery in Belgium alone (Menin, Langemarck, Lommel and Vladslo (in order of capacity rather than area) all dwarf it). 3 of the 4 bigger cemeteries are within easy reach of Ypres and visiting at least one (Vladslo is the "most pleasant", but Lommel (not viable for a quick trip to Ypres!) is certainly the most awe inspiring cemetery in Belgium) of them is a "must" - though, as has been mentioned, just initially concentrating on your relative might be the best bet for a first visit. The rest can come later.

Dave.

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I have posted before about my Great Grandad who died at Dead Man's Farm (Percy Hendy 2nd Btn Hampshire Regiment) 1mile south of Proven on 1 July 1917.

(...)

I am coming over to Belgium next week 27/28 February with my brother who knows nothing about his Great Grandad's death. Aurel Sercu and Marc Thompson have helped in the past and I know from them approximately where he died (....)

From the information I have received I know where he was fatally injured (Dead Man's Farm) and where he is buried (Mendinghem Cemetary).

(...)

I know from the War Diary that he was at the following locations:

(...)

June 28th - Belgium - Dead Man's Farm 1 mile south of Proven

(...)

Martin

Martin,

Sorry I am bothering you with a little problem.

I came across your topic this morning accidentally, and though I have serious complaints about my short(?) term memory, I immediately (but vaguely) remembered your name. And that we were in touch a while ago. (I have just discovered that this was in May 2004. And hundreds of e-mails and names have since passed, hence "vaguely".).

And I do remember that I was in touch with Marc Thompson too, and this was about "Dead Man's Farm" indeed. I even took photos and sent them, maybe to you too.

But I am a little puzzled ...

I clearly remember Dead Man's Farm and the pics I took, because this is in my village, Boezinge, and the Farm location is less than a mile from where I live.

In your initial posting though, I see that you locate Dead Man's Farm, where Percy Hendy was fatally injured near Proven. This however is almost 10 miles from Boezinge. Does that mean that there is (was) a second Dead Man's Farm, and that when focussing on Dead Man's Farm in Boezinge we were on the wrong track ?

Aurel

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Martin,

Sorry I am bothering you with a little problem.

I came across your topic this morning accidentally, and though I have serious complaints about my short(?) term memory, I immediately (but vaguely) remembered your name. And that we were in touch a while ago. (I have just discovered that this was in May 2004. And hundreds of e-mails and names have since passed, hence "vaguely".).

And I do remember that I was in touch with Marc Thompson too, and this was about "Dead Man's Farm" indeed. I even took photos and sent them, maybe to you too.

But I am a little puzzled ...

I clearly remember Dead Man's Farm and the pics I took, because this is in my village, Boezinge, and the Farm location is less than a mile from where I live.

In your initial posting though, I see that you locate Dead Man's Farm, where Percy Hendy was fatally injured near Proven. This however is almost 10 miles from Boezinge. Does that mean that there is (was) a second Dead Man's Farm, and that when focussing on Dead Man's Farm in Boezinge we were on the wrong track ?

Aurel

Hi Aurel, no your memory is not playing up. You did indeed very kindly take some photographs for me in 2004 of Dead Man's Farm and this is the right location. I must apologise because in my haste I wrote PROVEN rather than BOESINGHE as I was copying the route from the War Diary. It has taken me this long to organise a trip! Best wishes, Martin
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