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Remembered Today:

What is a must see near Ypres


Graham Smith
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OK help please,

Around June in 2006 myself and 8 or 9 mates will be off to Ypres to visit the WW1 'sites'

We have visited numerous WW2 areas of Normandy but 2006 will be 'our' first ever visit to a WW1 battle area.

I have been advised that the Menin Gate and Tyne Cot are not to be missed.

(I have made a promise to photograph an inscription at Tyne Cot for another friend)

Also the Cloth Hall museum is a must see, however, is there any other place that is on the must see list of more experienced researchers.

Does anyone know if a guide may be available to hire for a day?

If so where would we contact such a person and what is the likely cost?

I for one would hate to be blundering around a field and not have the faintest idea of what took place there.

Many thanks

Edit: Just to add we will have a long weekend there thats all

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Hello Graham

There are numerous guides in the Ypres area, one of whom is a fellow forum member Iain McHenry. If you PM him I am sure he would be delighted to point you in the right direction if he can't help you personally.

Andy

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Also the Cloth Hall museum is a must see,

Many (myself included) would disagree there! :ph34r: For a better alternative, try the museums at Zonnebeke and Hooge.

For a cemetery visit, I wouldn't miss Langemark, Hooglede or Vladslo German cemeteries. All are quite distinct from each other and also completely different from the CWGC cemeteries (you'll also notice quite a difference betwen them and the Normandy "biggies" such as la Cambe).

Dave.

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We visited a couple of weeks ago and visited Yorkshire Trench, Cloth Hall Museum, Hooge Crater Museum ( you can get lunch here), Hill 60 and the strange little museum next to it and then Menin Gate Ceremony in the evening. ( There are restaurant in walking range of Menin gate for supper)

We also visited a few cemeteries relevant to my family

This was all on one day - we travelled by Eurotunnel and approached the Salient through Cassel as recommended in the Holt's Guide.

Hope this helps

Jane

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Graham, if you can get a guide for the day that would be good. The "must see" places are all easily accessible but not very well signposted, so having someone who knows where they all are is a help. In addition there is the historical knowledge which a guide would be able to pass on to you.

If you can't get a guide then I would recommend a guide-book. This would help you find your way around when you get there but it would also enable you to get some of the historical details about these places. There's nothing worse than getting home and realising that you missed a place because you didn't know it was there or because you didn't realise its significance at the time.

There are several good guide books, and which one you need depends on the type of visit you're planning. "Major and Mrs. Holt's Battlefield Guide to the Ypres Salient" would meet your needs well, because it has lots of detailed information, instructions to get from place to place and several itineraries depending on how many days you have to spare. Many of the generally-accepted "must see" places are included in Itinerary one, for a one-day visit. There's also a fold out map with every place of interest marked. This is to scale and very useful for navigating when you get there.

You're almost certain to want to visit again, so the further itineraries will help you plan your second visit!

Tom

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Graham,

The list is endless around that area, the areas mentioned by other members are definites, but I'd also recommend Ploegsteert Wood for the fact that it's got lots of bunkers in there plus the Ploegsteert Memorial and Ploegsteert Wood Military Cemetery.

With a copy of a trench map for the wood you would easily be able to map out areas where the British and German lines were.

I'd recommend 'In Flanders Fields' museum.

http://www.inflandersfields.be/default2.htm

You could also email the secretary at the organisation I belong to, they hold a list of all guides from around that area who are working towards becoming badged battlefield guides.

http://www.battleguides.org/

As Tom mentions, you could buy a guide book, and I'd highly recommend the Holt's guide Tom has mentioned.

Steve

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Dont forget the 'Brooding Soldier Memorial' at Vancouver Corner! This is at St Julian and is awesome! Anybody got a photo? :o * I would also endorse the Holts guide for your visit, make sure you get their map too!

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Graham

There are a number of small minibus tour companies operating in Ieper - all of which seem to cover the main sites and this may be a good way forward, seeing as there is a group of you.

John

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hi zonnebeke dugout experience a must to give you some sort of idea,

same with sanctuary wood

hope this helps

biffo :

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Graham

Agree with all suggestions above - if self-guided the Holts book mentioned by Tom is essential in my humble opinion. Rose Coombs' book Before Endeavours Fade is also a classic guide to the Western Front.

If visiting for the first time I would suggest that within Ypres itself you make sure you visit the Menin Gate ceremony. This could be preceded by a walk to the beautiful Ramparts cemetery by the Lille Gate. The museum in the Cloth Hall is a modern type and not to everyone's taste as Dave has suggested but you may wish to make your own mind up.

Sanctuary Wood and Hooge on the Menin Road are must see locations - the museums there are older and more personal collections and give a flavour of what would have been on show to battlefield tourists in the twenties and thirties. Polygon Wood is close by with the beautiful Buttes cemetery.

Tyne Cot at the head of the Third Ypres battlefield is also a must see. The brooding soldier memorial can be visited as part of the same trip. Also the German cemetery at Langemarck (also already mentioned). Closer to Ypres, Hill 60 is very atmospheric and can be combined with visits to cemeteries to the south of Ypres such as Bedford House and Railway Dugouts.

To the north of the town the cemetery at Essex Farm can be combined with a visit to Yorkshire Trench on the other side of the canal.

For my money no trip would be complete without a drive along Messines Ridges where a number of mine craters are visible from the road. A visit to the largest at Spanbroekmoelen and the little cemetery nearby (Lone Tree) is also a must. The area around Ploegsteert Wood also contains much of interest.

A lot is possible in a couple of days as an introductory visit. The area of the Salient is compact and you will be struck just how close you are to Ypres at any one time. None of the places I've mentioned is more than ten miles or so from Ypres.

To sum up - get a copy of the Holts book. Whether you go with a guide or do it yourself you will find it invaluable. Iain McHenry would be my first port of call - I've not used his services but his contributions to the forum would give me every confidence to do so.

Have a good trip - I'll wager you will want to go back!

Mike

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"the Menin Gate ceremony"

Under no circumstances should you miss this, as far as I am concerned its a definate for every trip I make to Ypres. These days it always seems to get very crowded so you need to arrive early to secure a road side spot. When I first started visiting years ago there were very few there, indeed on one occasion there were only 2 people including myself. Now, there are often coach loads of school kids, an squad from some army group and a whole host of tourists.

It used to be said that applause at the end was not deemed appropriate but quite often now the crowd breaks into applause. Personally I see nothing wrong with that, if done with respect.

Even if there are just a few people watching, the simple ceremony loses none of its poignancy.

Patrick

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Would agree entirely. I can't go to Ypres without attending.

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I still really hate to hear applause but know it's well meant. I have spent 12 or thereabout nights in Ieper, missed ceremony once.

I think the area around the Bluff is a must see too.

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Wow, so many replies.

Cheers people for those suggestions.

One of our party has purchasd the Holts guide (we use the same author for our Normandy trips)

We have never had the services of a guide before as we tend to find a few vetrans where ever we go, so we get talking to them about what happened (If they are willing of course)

Finding vetrans for the Ypres campaign will prove a tad difficult so the next best thing is someone who has studied events and can give a balanced truthful account

I am rather suprised that we can see so much within a ten mile radius of Ypres.

It's only September and I can't wait for next June to come along (my missus things I daft,or saft as we say in Wolves)

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Dont forget the 'Brooding Soldier Memorial' at Vancouver Corner! This is at St Julian and is awesome! Anybody got a photo? :o * I would also endorse the Holts guide for your visit, make sure you get their map too!

post-5500-1126297112.jpg

post-5500-1126297133.jpg

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Tim,

Where are you staying there? I can recommend Varlet Farm as an ideal 'home from home'.

Roy

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Hi Tim

Another place I would recommend is the German trench system at Bayernwald. It is a wonderful restoration of the trenches and what can be seen today is almost 10% of what it was in 1917. It is 40 metres above sea level, is quite impressive and another must for a visit. It is about 10 kilometres from Ypres and is located in Wijtschate-Heuvelland. For your visit, you have to go to the local tourist office in Kemmel where you will receive the site gate’s code. Kemmel Tourist Office, VVV Heuvelland, Reningelststraat 11, 8950 Kemmel, Belgium. Tel: 0032 57 45 04 55 Email: vvvheuvelland@skynet.be

Web: http://www.heuvelland.be

(Also nearby are the dugouts at Mount Kemmel) Will post some photos of both.

Enjoy your trip.

sunflower :)

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