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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Menin gate


zijde26
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To All,

Beneath you will find a scan of a postcard.

Most ww1-soldiers passed this way. The lions are still visible,

Gilbert Deraedt

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Gilbert,

a very nice shot, as with Tom I have not seen this one before, thank you for sharing it with us,

regards,

Scottie.

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Gilbert,

I'm afraid this will not sound very original after what Tom and Scottie wrote, but ... this sight is completely new to me...

Aurel

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Chilling to think of the cataclysm that was to fall on this peaceful and tranquil place within a few short years.

A wonderful image - but you sort of hold yor breath for the place as you look upon it.

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In 1936, two large stone guardian lions were donated to the Australian War Memorial by the burgomaster of the Belgian city of Ypres. The lions, carved from limestone, were given to the Australian government as a gesture of friendship. In exchange, in 1938, the Memorial gave a bronze casting of C. Web Gilbert’s sculpture Digger on behalf of the Australian government. The inscription on the casting of Digger reads:

In assurance of a friendship that will not be forgotten even when the last digger has gone west and the last grave is crumbled.

The lions had been toppled from their plinths by the shellfire and both were deeply chipped across their backs, and one had lost its right foreleg. The other had been badly damaged on one side of its head, and major damage elsewhere had reduced it to only a head and trunk ending just below the ribcage.

When the lions arrived at the Memorial in September 1936, the building was not yet complete and lacked a suitable space to display them properly, although the lion with the missing leg was displayed by itself for several years. It was decided in 1985 to reconstruct the missing pieces of each lion in such a way that it would be obvious what was original and what was reconstructed. The reconstructed portions were designed so that they could be dismantled to return the sculptures to their original state, should that prove necessary. The work was done by Kasimiers L. Zywuszko, a Polish-born sculptor, with the assistance of period photographs obtained from Ypres. It was completed in 1987.

The lions are now displayed inside the front entrance to the Memorial and all visitors pass between them as they enter the building.

And here's the other one.

post-2918-1126013835.jpg

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Great posting Gilbert, first time I have seen the Menin Gate pre-war ! Can we assume the photo was taken about 1909 (the apparent date on the postmark?)

Also interesting about the Lions, I never knew that. Cor you learn something new here every day !!

Patrick

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In exchange, in 1938, the Memorial gave a bronze casting of C. Web Gilbert’s sculpture Digger on behalf of the Australian government.

I knew about the lions, but this is new to me. Where could this statue be ? Or dit it never make it to Ypres ?

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I knew about the lions, but this is new to me. Where could this statue be ? Or dit it never make it to Ypres ?

It's on display in the In Flanders Fields Museum.

From memory : about half a meter or 2 feet tall ?

Sorry, I have no photo.

Aurel

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And another view of the lions in their original pre-war position.

Angle different from Gilbert's postcard. (And not so close.)

This one is from outside the ramparts.

Aurel

post-92-1126039748.jpg

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Great thread guys, Gilbert, Aurel, Peter, Auimfo- just shows there's still new things(and old-1909 postcard) for us all to see and learn out there.

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There is an article on the Menin Road lions, written by Elizabeth Burness from the Australian War Memorial, in Volume 13 of the Journal of the Australian War Memorial (Oct. 1988, pp.48-49).

The article contains a brief description of the conservation process used to reconstruct the lions and a discussion about their age and various locations within Ypres. If any members would like a copy of this article please e-mail me. Also, I should be popping down to the AWM in Canberra soon so I can take a few more photos.

Chris

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Aurel's photo is one I have seen before. You can see that the people in the picture are drawing water from the moat. They have a pipe going down into the water and there's one of those barrel-shaped water-carts parked up nearby. Getting water from the moat in this way must have been a regular thing, as you can see where there are two well-worn access points to the moat.

Presumably the water-cart was used for street cleaning.

Tom

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To Chris,

Very to the point article. Thanks.

To Patrick,

The postcard was sent and has a stamp on its backside. That postmark says that it was sent in Ypres on 24 Mai 1909 and it arrived in Lumbres (near St-Omer, Northern France) on 25 Mai 1909. Thus, the picture on the frontside dates from before the sending, but when ... ?.

Gilbert Deraedt

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Almost impossible to date when a photo was taken. An indication of the age is the backside of the postcard. If it is undivided it means that it is certainly from before 1906. This was due to changes in the postal system and fees.

Jacky

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Hi, Attached is another postcard view of the Menin Gate (or site) - presumably postwar. The back is not like either of those above.

Is this one commonly seen before?

Alan

post-5390-1126444614.jpg

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