With today being the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy I thought I’d share a few pictures of some the war memorials local to my area, in remembrance of those that never came back and those who left something behind on the beaches of Normandy or the fields of Flanders. The featured image is of the Commando memorial in the Scottish Highlands.
Wellington’s (Shropshire) War Memorial
Hadley’s (Shropshire) War Memorial
Donnington’s (Shropshire) War Memorial
Newport’s (Shropshire) War Memorial
Madeley’s (Shropshire) War Memorial
Ironbridge’s (Shropshire) War Memorial
To finish I’ll leave you with a photo of my trip to Ypres earlier this year. Different war, same tragedy.
Last week myself and a few friends went crossed the channel for a short visit to Belgium. We went to the beautiful town of Ypres in the north of the country to look at some of the World War I sites. With the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the war later this year I would recommend a visit to one of the war graves, memorials or trench sites. The whole experience is an emotional one, especially if like me you are in to your military history. We went to the Menin Gate in Ypres. It is one of the World War I memorials to those men of the British Empire & Commonwealth who have not been found. Those individuals that have no know grave but will lie somewhere in the Ypres area. There are almost 55,000 names on that memorial. The gate is an area where the weight of history feels heavy and a certain atmosphere is present. Being into my history you get use to hearing numbers in the tens of thousands for WWI and WWII battles, but to actually stand there and see name after name lovingly carved into the stone…the feeling is hard to describe.
As for the town of Ypres itself, the place is a beautiful town, the people are friendly, the food is good and although most of the sites to see relate to the Great War it is worth going to see.
Above is a shot of the beautiful medieval Cloth Hall…except it isn’t medieval, and neither is the cathedral behind it. The town has the look of a medieval centre but the reality is that the whole place was flattened in WWI as this image that I lifted from Wikipedia shows below.
This is the Cloth Hall and cathedral in 1919. It’s fantastic to see such effort has been made in rebuilding, but then again what else would you do. Living in the latter part of the 20th century it is hard to visualize such destruction, but this helps to keep the memory alive.
Elsewhere you can visit areas of preserved/reconstructed trenches. We went to such a place just east of the town. Visiting after so much rain the past month made the clay soil rather boggy and helped give me some idea of what those brave soldiers lived in.
Even with a modern pump taking out some of the water, this trench is still flooded.
I’ll leave you with a image from these allied trenches to the town of Ypres, and as a closing thought some of those 54,896 commemorated at the Menin Gate will lie in these fields.