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54 Travel All Quiet on the Western Front If I should die, think only this of me: That there’s some corner of a foreign field That is forever England. This excerpt from Rupert Brooke’s poem, increasing number of visitors of all ages, and in this The Soldier, springs to mind whilst driving month’s travel feature we take a look at a few main through the pretty Belgian countryside. It’s a peaceful rural backdrop with neatly uniform fields full of crops and it’s hard to imagine it as it was a century ago; a desolate landscape of mud, burntout trees and barbed wire, with shattered men crouching in trenches with the roar of heavy artillery overhead. As the 100th year anniversary of the end of the Great War comes to pass, visiting the battlefields sites and attractions in Belgium and France. During the Great War, Ypres occupied a strategic position standing directly in the path of Germany’s plans to invade France from the north. One in three of British deaths on the Western Front happened in the Ypres area and during the course of the war the town was all but obliterated by artillery fire. Ypres today is known as the city of peace and war graves cover the landscape around the area, of the period remains a fascinating and moving including the Tyne Cot Commonwealth war experience. These visits brings history alive for an cemetery which houses the graves of 11,954
55 soldiers, but the most popular site for visitors is the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing. The memorial is dedicated to the 54,395 Commonwealth soldiers who died in the Ypres Salient but whose bodies have never been identified or found. Every night at 8pm since 1927, except when the Germans occupied the area in World War 2, buglers sound the ‘Last Post’. Just two miles east of Ypres is Sanctuary Wood, home of the Flanders Field Museum, and one of the most popular destinations for the battlefield visitor. The museum manages to blend wartime artefacts with multimedia presentations to create a first-person view of life in the bleakest of conditions, whilst the trenches behind the museum give a very good feel for what it must have been like to experience the mud and misery of the trenches. No visit to the battlefields would be complete without a visit to The Somme, to see the area where the infamous Battle of the Somme began on a summer’s day in July and ended in a snowstorm 4½ months later. The excellent Historical Museum of the Great War, which is housed within a medieval castle in Peronne, provides visitors with not only a vision of what life Battlefields Tours from £349 pp All Quiet on the Western Front Tour Executive coach travel 4 days from £349 3/4 nights hotel BB Specialist Battlefield Guide Dates April 18-May 19 Terms & Conditions apply – Holidays subject to availability. Call into Marken Travel for further details Independent Travel Specialist Protected by 200 Main Street, Billinge, WN5 7PE Telephone: 01744 893291 www.markentravel.co.uk
LocalLife Wigan Edition May 2018 Te