Saturday, 25 February 2017

We have had a really interesting but very moving few days away. I already knew that a lot of people lost their lives during the first world war but had no real idea about the enormity of the loss and sacrifice that was made by those incredibly brave young men. It was one of the most enlightening and humbling experiences. We had a very good tour guide, Phillip, whose first hand knowledge was incredible and he made the whole WW1 experience come to life but also brought it home what a terrible waste of human life on both sides took place.

The Menin Gate during the last post. This has taken place every evening for 100 years.
Every inch of the Menin gate is covered with the names of the missing fallen. Men whose bodies were never found. 

Beautifully maintained gravestones for the fallen heroes. 

More graves...... And so they go on........

Bruges. A beautiful city that was occupied by the Germans in the second world war

Phillip also took us to Hill 60 where the huge craters and trenches were still in evidence after the biggest explosion in living memory took place. The Germans occupied the high ground (including Hill 60 and the Mezzine Ridge) and were trying to take over Ypres, which was 9 Km away from Hill 60. For strategic reasons it was vitally important that the allied troops kept control of Ypres. Over three years allied soldiers tunnelled underneath enemy territory laying down 500 tonnes of explosives which were set off on 17th April 1915 with the instant loss of 10.000 German lives and the explosion being heard in London. The allies were then able to retake the high ground which protected their position and helped to win the war.