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Thursday, 3 July 2014

Our Flanders Adventure III: Silent Witnesses

A silent memorial: the black marks on this tree stump (left) at the In Flanders Fields Museum (see my previous blog post) bears witness to the terrific bombing and shelling of Ypres during the Great War. The tree first grew in 1760, the year when George III came to the throne, and it was 235 years old when felled in 1994.
The tree ring marked #4 is 1815, the battle of Waterloo; #7 is 1865, the end of the American Civil War, and #10 marks the start of WW1 in 1914.

Storm clouds and rain over the Flanders fields behind the 'Cross of Sacrifice' at Tyne Cot.

Our next stop on our Belgian journey into the past was a visit to Tyne Cot near Passchendaele. It's the largest CWGC graveyard and memorial in the world, and it was sobering to see how many brave men are remembered there; almost three-quarters of the graves are of unknown soldiers. Like all the war grave sites, it's immaculately kept, and a very peaceful place. It's very difficult to imagine that battle raged here for so many months. 
If your ancestors died in the Great War, you can search the CWGC website for their memorial.

The remains of a German pillbox at Tyne Cot.

The remains of a blockhouse or pillbox, now a memorial, at Tyne Cot which was captured by the 3rd Australian Division in 1917.

All photos © Sue Wilkes.

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