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Remembered Today:

In Flanders Field Museum


jdajd
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I'm sitting at my desk now a little bored and yawning so I thought I'd throw this out as a fun topic. For those who have visited this museum in the Cloth Hall in Ypres, what identity were you given? What was their role in the war? Was it someone you had an interest in (maybe not specifically, but in general terms)? Did you follow up with any research?

I sort of ask this for two reasons; one that I'm curious. The second though is personal. I do not have the name of my identity in front of me, but I will find it at home. Needless to say I was a little disappointed when I got to the end to find out my guy had been executed for rape :( .

Anyone else have an interesting alter ego?

Jon

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Unfortunately, I cant remember the name I was given. However, he was wounded but survived the war, only to be killed by an exploding shell in the 1920s while salvaging metal.

Best regards,

Vince

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When I was based at SHAPE, Mons, circa 2002/3, I visited the cloth hall museum in Ypres, with a real multinational (NATO) group. I remember I was given the ID of a female Civvy, possibly a nurse. I will never forget a German pal of mine, who was a driver in the German Army, getting Adolf Hitler! I just remember him going through the museum reading his ticket at the various stations mumbling "Ja, ja, ja" I must say we didnt let him forget that for a while!

Regards

Iain

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Hello,

Haven't a clue what you're on about. My earliest visits were in the pre-politically correct days when the museum was still called the Ypres Salient 1914-1918 War Museum and left any historical intrepretation to the individual. No light shows or sound tracks. No Euro Union propaganda. A damned fine museum IMHO.

Returning to Ypres unaware that the War museum had been replaced by a Peace Museum I was most dissappointed by the change. On subsequent visits I have always given it a miss. Still, I am often mistaken and tend, to my cost, to eschew anything changed or 'improved'. Have I infact been missing something worthwhile?

What could you mean by stating that you are given an identity upon entering the museum?

Cheers, Bill

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It was my first visit to Ypres, and consequently, my first to the museum so I do not know what it was like before. I do know what you mean though, most modern museums of any topic feel too antiseptic. Its understandable that they would want to appeal to a broad spectrum and not just the people who are obsessed with the topic. Of course, the other end of the spectrum is a mess like Hill 62/Sanctuary Wood.

In the new museum, when you walk in you get a ticket with a name and bar code and at certain points you scan the ticket and the computer tells you a little about your person. They range from all walkks of life i.e. civilian, nurse, soldat etc. I got a Belgian Soldier who as I said was ultimately executed for rape, but hey at least I'm not Hitler.

Jon

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Jon

In the 1980's and early 90's it was probably the best WW1 museum on the planet. Absolutely stuffed with original artifacts. It was then taken over by arty PC museum curators and is now only fit for school children with clipboards.

A complete waste of time now by comparison to what it was. I would not recommend anyone visit it now.

John

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I may not be very discerning in my tastes, but I have enjoyed visiting all of the museums in the area over the years on multiple occaisions: Flanders Fields, Hill 62, Passchendale Memorial, etc. Certainly different approaches and qualities of venues, but each worth a visit (or two) from my viewpoint.

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I have to admit that shortly after it became the 'Peace Museum' we 'bunked in' on the tail end of a School Party (obviously my Husband's idea!!) so we weren't anybody

Gill

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........is now only fit for school children with clipboards.

John

....wearing those irritating FCUK t-shirts and iPods.......

Cheers, Bill

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I went and I was given an identity. Sadly, the only thing I remember was getting bored and giving up. Not a museum I'd personally rush back to, I'm afraid.

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It was my first visit to Ypres, and consequently, my first to the museum so I do not know what it was like before. I do know what you mean though, most modern museums of any topic feel too antiseptic. Its understandable that they would want to appeal to a broad spectrum and not just the people who are obsessed with the topic. Of course, the other end of the spectrum is a mess like Hill 62/Sanctuary Wood.

In the new museum, when you walk in you get a ticket with a name and bar code and at certain points you scan the ticket and the computer tells you a little about your person. They range from all walkks of life i.e. civilian, nurse, soldat etc. I got a Belgian Soldier who as I said was ultimately executed for rape, but hey at least I'm not Hitler.

Jon

In truth it shouldn't matter who you "became" - eveyone had a valid WW1 experience and we need to understand all these stories and experiences to understand the war better. We must not re-write or sanitise history. To take Hitler as an example it is useful to understand his WW1 experiences to understand better what happened afterwards. Equally to trace the career of others who might otherwise be forgotten and may only have led an "ordinary" life or who perhaps "misbehaved" is to understand more about the mutlipliucity of combatants who made up the various armies.

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I was being a little tongue and cheek. Believe me though, I did not need the little ticket to understand the enormity of the war or the broad impact it had across the whole spectrum of humanity. As I said I though the museum was a little too new millenium as are most modern museums (or those made modern). I enjoyed some aspects of it, but would not return as I do not think it would add anything of value.

I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., which I think has become sort of a model for newer museums, the year that it opened and I was profoundly moved by the way it was presented. As with the Flanders Field museum each visitor is given an identity, although I do not know if it was both sides. The crowds were almost herded through the museum in a crush, which was in some way to illustrate the cattle like conditions of concentration camp victims. The museum was sort of interactive, but did not feel P.C. or overly sanitized. In the end you scan you card and learn whether your identity survived. Very moving.

Jon

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flanders fields fine if its raining and you havent an umbrella,you want a proper museum ,up to the lille gate pint of peace beer get a ticket and have a look around a reall good un,or off to hooge.

if you want another peace museum go to peronne also for the pc brigade

i`ll get me coat

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It's strange but in the Ypres Salient museum as was, I used to feel a definite connection with the past. In the place, looking at the artefacts and feeling that many veterans had been there before me. Now, entertaining though it might be, IFF gives me no such feeling. It might as well be in my local library.

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It's strange but in the Ypres Salient museum as was, I used to feel a definite connection with the past. In the place, looking at the artefacts and feeling that many veterans had been there before me. Now, entertaining though it might be, IFF gives me no such feeling. It might as well be in my local library.

I understand what you mean about the last part, and I am upset I never got to experience the old museum. I also had the same feeling with the museum in Peronne. I enjoyed the Zonnbeke Passchendaele Experience, which felt like a new museum, but did not seem to pander, as well as the Hooge Crater, which is pure old school.

Jon

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a few weeks ago before entering the belfort we went into the museum, we get in free as we live in ieper area, I must say, I wouldn't pay to go in, the old museum was 10 times nicer. I prefere to go and visite zonnebeke or the other museums in the area.

even our 13 year old son didn't realy like the light and sound show.

kind regards

sabine

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I should say though that I did like the way the gas masks were exhibited there. Got some pretty cool looking pictures once I turned the flash off. I also thought that the exhibit on gas at the Zonnebeke Passchendaele Experience was very effective, especially being able to smell what the individual gases smelled like.

Jon

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The old museum was very special, I was very lucky to go round with veterans many a time, I know some people who went round with veterans who where in the big photos.

Having said all that, I have been several times under the new regime when there are special exhibitions on, and they are good, it's not totally my glass of tea, the bookshop is much improved!

The one museum that really annoys me is Langermark, they wrecked the battlefield where the Glosters fought and gave the Germans a right ******* in October 1914, you use to be able to stand in the wall and view the field of action, now blocked out by that monstrosity!!

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The one museum that really annoys me is Langermark, they wrecked the battlefield where the Glosters fought and gave the Germans a right ******* in October 1914, you use to be able to stand in the wall and view the field of action, now blocked out by that monstrosity!!

MartH,

Only because I'm not sure I understand. What museum in Langemark do you mean ? (I live in the village next to Langemark, and as far as I know : no museum in Langemark.) Or maybe you mean the Visitors' Centre of the German Cemetery ?)

Aurel

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Sorry, I mean the Visitors' Centre of the German Cemetery. I accept museum's/visitors centre's need to be built, and even though the land had changed a bit, the action of the Gloster's, whose dead started the cemetery, was magnificent, and their trenches where where the visitors centre now is.

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Thanks, MartH.

True, the German Cemetery started originally as a British (+ French) cemetery. Should you know where the British graves later were moved, will you let me know please ? (I'm interested in what happened to the many hundreds of small cemeteries that post Armistice were moved elsewhere.)

Sorry, Jon, for going off Topic.

Aurel

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Aurel I can do that, I don't know but a friend of mine is the expert on the action and knows where they went, I will contact him and be in touch.

He too loathes the new Ieper museum, but is a very big fan of the bookshop.

I really like the Zonnebeke museum.

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Thanks, Mart(in?). As we are getting slightly off Topic after Jon's initial posting, I'll contact you by PM.

Aurel

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Getting back to the original question, I was Willard Barber, can't remember a thing about him, one of my friends was Noel Chavasse - and I was extremly miffed :(

As for the museum, not one I would especially recomend, but I am prepared to let people make their own mind up if I go with anyone else, but I shan't return in a hurry

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