Tag Archives: Ypres

#PhotoFriday: The St. Julien Canadian Memorial.

Happy #PhotoFriday everyone! To join with others all over the world, here is my contribution to #WorldPhotoDay – The St. Julian Canadian Memorial, Ypres.
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St. Julien Canadian Memorial, Ypres.
 
After the First World War, The Imperial War Graves Commission made available 8 sites to Canada to build memorials. The Canadian Battlefields Memorials Commission was established to facilitate the competition which was held to find a design which would become the national memorial.
 
In 1922 the entry by Walter Seymour Allward was announced as the winner. Allward’s design would be later erected at Vimy Ridge, France (you can read more about my visit to this memorial here. The runner-up was the design submitted by Frederick Chapman Clemesha which you see in today’s photograph. Also known as the “Brooding Soldier,” Clemesha’s design was built at St Julien, Belgium.
 
During the First World War this location was known a Vancouver Corner, as the Canadian First Division was assigned here during the Second Battle of Ypres. On the 22nd April 1915 the German Army unleashed 168 tons of Chlorine gas from their position opposite Langemark-Poelkapelle, in the north of Ypres. This was first poison gas attack on the Western Front.
 
This striking granite memorial, which stands at 11 metres (35ft) tall, can be seen from miles around. The bowed head of the Canadian solider at the top of it stands as a powerful symbol of remembrance. On the memorial is a small plaque which reads:
 
“THIS COLUMN MARKS THE BATTLEFIELD WHERE 18,000 CANADIANS ON THE BRITISH LEFT WITHSTOOD THE FIRST GERMAN GAS ATTACKS THE 22-24 APRIL 1915 2,000 FELL AND LIE BURIED NEARBY.”
 
Standing in front of the memorial surrounded by its beautifully kept grounds, you cannot help but take a moment to stop and think of what horror faced those brave men during April 1915. Like so many locations we visited during my trip to Belgium and France earlier this year, this site at St. Julien brings home to me the importance of remembrance, what happened should never be forgotten and it is up to us to keep the memory of of those brave men, and what they fought for alive.
 
Lest We Forget.
 
Hugh at ReClick Photo.
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#PhotoFriday: The Menin Gate.

Happy #PhotoFriday everyone!

This week’s image is of the Menin gate, Ypres, Belgium. This magnificent structure is dedicated to the British and commonwealth soldiers who were killed during the First World War, and still to this day are missing in the Ypres Salient.

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The Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium.

Once completed, the gate appeared to be not large enough to contain all the names as originally planned. It was then decided by the Commonwealth Graves commission that the 54,395 names of those who had died before 15th August 1917 would be inscribed on stone panels of the Hall of Memory within the Menin Gate. The remaining 34,984 names of those who were killed and are still are missing would be commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the missing instead.

In an act of gratitude to the brave soldiers who fought for the freedom of Belgium during the First World War, every night at 8pm buglers from the local fire brigade close the road which passes through the memorial and sounds the “Last Post.” With the exception of the German occupation during the Second World War, this evening ceremony has been carried out each night since the 2nd of July 1928.

When visiting Ypres earlier in the year, I had the privilege to witness this ceremony for myself. Standing alongside hundreds of people within the Hall of Memory surrounded by all the names of the missing etched onto the walls, knowing that the ground I stood on was were hundreds of thousands of brave men made their way to the front line, was a very overwhelming experience.  Even now, recalling it now as I write this makes me emotional. The dignity, gratitude and honour shown to all those who fought all that time ago was extremely poignant and humbling.  The memory of the night will live with me the rest of my life.

Lest We Forget

Thanks for reading

Hugh at ReClick Photo.