In Flanders Fields: A Tour

posted by Sharon April 9, 2017 23 Comments
Flanders Fields

The battlefields of WWI around Ypres, the land known as Flanders Fields, lie in peaceful farmland. This month marks the 100th anniversary of my country’s entry into the long, muddy, bloody conflict. To honor those who fought – from about 50 different countries – here’s a look at Flanders Fields today.

Tyne Cot Cemetery

Lying near the town of Passchendaele, the site of three major battles, this cemetery is a memorial to fallen soldiers from the U.K., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. It’s telling that out of the 12,000 graves, about 8,000 names are unknown. These battles were so brutal that many of the young men could not be identified. Flanders FieldsFlanders FieldsFlanders FieldsFlanders FieldsFlanders Fields

Unearthed Ammunition

Unexploded shells continue to surface as farmers plow and construction crews dig. People trying to handle the ammunition are still dying from accidental explosions. We saw some of these shells on a farm, but everyone in our tour group chose to look, not handle. Flanders Fields

Restored Trenches

This trench system outside Ypres is restored to the original dimensions in the exact location. It’s amazing to walk in the footsteps of the men who lived and fought here a hundred years ago. Flanders FieldsFlanders FieldsFlanders FieldsFlanders Fields

Flanders FieldsThe Hooge Crater Museum

We enjoyed a lunch stop at this café and museum. Plenty of artillery shells decorate the outside. Inside are displays of gas masks and other WWI memorabilia. Flanders FieldsFlanders FieldsFlanders Fields

Hill 60 – Battle of Messines

This area is preserved as it was during the war. Tunnels dug under here were mined and blown up under enemy lines. The close proximity of the front lines is noted by signs in the sidewalk. And a German bunker survives. Flanders FieldsFlanders FieldsFlanders FieldsFlanders Fields

A German Cemetery

Of course, German men died here, too, and many are buried in this lovely cemetery. Flanders FieldsFlanders FieldsFlanders Fields

Field Dressing Station and Cemetery

The grave of one of the youngest of the fallen is here, and it is the most visited by older school children. This young man should have been in school, not on the battlefield. Flanders Fields

This field dressing station was where medic John McCrae worked. He is the author of the poem:

In Flanders Fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce hear amid the guns below.

Flanders FieldsMcCrae and so many thousands of others died in Flanders Fields. A visit to this area, to pay tribute and to contemplate life, is certainly worthwhile for all of us. Flanders Fields

Flanders FieldsFlanders FieldsWe toured Flanders Fields with Quasimodo Tours. The couple who runs this company lives in the area and is extremely knowledgeable about WWI. The van picked us up at our hotel in Brugge, and it was a day of immersion in history. I highly recommend this company! Here we are with our excellent guide, Phillipe. Flanders Fields

In case you missed it, check out the previous post on Ypres and the Menin Gate for that portion of the tour.

 

Linking up with Image-in-ingLittle Things ThursdayWednesday Around the WorldThe Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens, Seasons, Our World Tuesday, Photo Friday, Seasons at Life-n-Reflection, Travel Photo Thursday, City Tripping, Weekend Wanderlust, Life Thru the Lens, Faraway Files, and Weekend Travel Inspiration.

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23 Comments

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Tamar Strauss-Benjamin April 10, 2017 at 4:48 am

You took some stunning shots there! I love following along on your travels!

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Mersad April 10, 2017 at 10:28 am

A place truly rich in history, and that’s palpable in every corner. I really like your little trip and the images you came home with. Thank you for linking in with “Through My Lens”.

Mersad

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Molly April 10, 2017 at 11:36 am

And if we forget all this history we risk repeating it

Mollyx

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klara April 10, 2017 at 4:42 pm

exceptional post and images.

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Carol April 10, 2017 at 5:48 pm

I learned about Flanders Field in school as a child; I still remember the opening line of the poem. It’s very sad that generations of young men (boys many of them ) are lost in senseless battle.

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jesh StG April 10, 2017 at 7:23 pm

An apt post for this week leading up to Easter, Sharon! Looking at these trenches – I wonder if they built these trenches in place while they were in there! No flimsy structures! The photo recovered says it all. as well as the flowers on the screen door. Great job Sharon on a difficult subject and sharing it with All Seasons! Have a beautiful week:)

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artmusedog and carol April 10, 2017 at 9:01 pm

Wonderful photography of a very beautiful place and tribute to the veterans ~ thanks,

Wishing you a Happy Week ~ ^_^

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Photo Cache April 10, 2017 at 10:22 pm

The images spoke volumes. Really wonderful.

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bettyl - NZ April 11, 2017 at 1:34 am

What a fantastic, yet humbling place to visit. This is a great piece of history that should spark pride in the hearts of all who see it.

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Rhonda Albom April 11, 2017 at 11:08 am

There is a lot of history is this part of the world. I never realized how many unnamed graves were in Flanders Field. Thanks for the photo tour of the trenches.

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Felicia April 11, 2017 at 2:03 pm

Heartwrenching, beautiful images. May we never forget their great sacrifice.

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Su-sieee! Mac April 12, 2017 at 1:35 am

I think it’s wonderful that the community chose to honor such deep sorrow.

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Photo(Geo)grapher April 12, 2017 at 6:38 pm

What exceptional place, full of history. I think, your photos are the great tribute to the veterans.

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Kay L. Davies April 13, 2017 at 12:35 am

My husband and I visited a WWI cemetery when we were in France a few years ago. It was an emotional experience because my grandfather’s generation fought in that war. I remember WWI vets marched in many parades when I was a youngster and then a teen, and my tears increased as the number of veterans decreased.
Maybe I should have watched the Vimy Ridge ceremonies all day, but I just couldn’t. The edited version on the CBC News was enough to make me cry.
Kay
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

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indah nuria savitri April 13, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Hi Sharon..love your blog! Such a beautiful cemetery as well. I have been visiting some old cemeteries here in New York and the surrounding US cities and it’s really a moving, yet wonderful experience. May all rest in peace.

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Elizabeth Stewart April 13, 2017 at 5:32 pm

What a somber sight.

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Trekking with Becky April 14, 2017 at 12:21 am

I had no idea that there’s so much to see and do in Flanders Field. Thank you for this wonderful post with some amazing shots. 🙂

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Pat -- Mille Fiori Favoriti April 14, 2017 at 2:00 am

What a poignant place to visit, Sharon, and so interesting. I also appreciated seeing the German cemetery
My Mother used to recite a very heartfelt rendidtion of the poem “In Flandesr Field” to us when we were children every US Memorial Day. Wishing there would be no more wars to memorialize but sadly know that is probably impossible.

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budget jan April 14, 2017 at 10:54 am

Such a poignant and emotional place. I hope I’ll get to see it one day but until then your photos show it beautifully.

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Ruth April 14, 2017 at 3:50 pm

Wow Sharon! This place is beautiful but moving at the same time. Having been to war related sites in Europe, I know how you feel when you are walking around places filled with history. A local guide is indispensable in visits like this. It adds so much more to the experience. #TPThursday

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Allison April 14, 2017 at 8:55 pm

That is so sad that so many graves are unknown. I’m fascinated by the history of both world wars but one thing that breaks my heart is thinking about the thousands of people who died way too soon and never had the opportunity to live their lives. It’s a reminder to me to make the most out of my life and do my best to be a good person and make a difference in the world. #weekendwanderlust

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handmade by amalia April 15, 2017 at 2:54 pm

I must say, you take us to the most interesting places, Sharon.
Amalia
xo

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Andrea on Vacation April 18, 2017 at 3:39 pm

Batllefield tours are so thought provoking and sad. I did a few recently and just felt overwhelmed by the volume of graves. #weekendwanderlust

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