Belgium Battlefield sites

Dec 16, 2003
24
0
0
Visit site
Hi
I'm looking for a site close to the WW1 battlefield sites in Belgium. Not too huge a site but comfortable and with good facilities, any ideas?
 
May 24, 2014
3,687
765
20,935
Visit site
Cant help you with campsites in that area, but the sights are something to behold. I have done both the Franch and Belgian battlefields numerous times, and I cant honestly say I noticed any caravan sites.

Much of what you will see is staggering, but the one that blew me away was at the German Cemetary at Langemarke. At its entrance is a small rose garden, no bigger than that of the average semi-detached house. Its actually a mass grave and has the remains of over 25000 Garman soldiers. Its very hard to comprehend given the size of it.
The "kameradengraf" (comrade grave)

all those non-identified exhumed soldiers from Belgium were buried there in a "kameradengraf" (comrade grave) during the period of 1956-1958. 366 graves behind the partition wall were moved to make room for the enormous grave. Almost 25,000 remains were buried here.

Before you go, its worth sending for a copy of
Major and Mrs Holts Battlefield Guide, YPRES SALIENT.
ISBN 0-85052-551-9

and the Commonweath War Graves map of the same area. The CWG do their own maps via Michelin and the maps are numbered. You would need number 51, Calais, Lille, Bruxelles if indeed they are still available. Mine is quite old now and there looks to be an updated version here:
https://www.facebook.com/commonwealthwargravescommission/posts/10154823124476094
 
Apr 3, 2010
497
1
18,685
Visit site
Was there last week for a short break. Did not take the van - stayed at a really great Air B&B near Ypres. I agree that the mass grave at Langemark is staggering. Was surprised to learn that its upkeep is down to public subscription unlike the commonwealth war graves. What blew me away is the sheer No of sites. When out and about you find them at every turn. Tyne Cot was absolutely beautiful and so sad. I think my great uncle is buried there.The museum at Ypres was the most informative place we visited. The last post ceremony at the Menin gate is very moving.
On a separate topic I was amazed at how bad the standard of driving was in Belgium. They love to drive two feet from your bumper and the speed limits are a joke. Concrete roads are awful.
 
May 24, 2014
3,687
765
20,935
Visit site
We saw Tyne Cot on a typical Paschendaele day, wet and misty. On the day they had a piper playing and it was extremely moving. What is staggering about Tyne Cot initially is the sheer size of it, and when you realise that all the panels around the walls contain the names of the missing, it is beyond comprehension.

On the map I mentioned, and I have a series of them also covering The Somme area and Pas de Calais, they are normal Michelin Maps but produced for CWGC, and there is an overlay marking all the cemetaries with purple dots. When you see the sheer number of those dots, you begin to see clearly what a calamity it was. Granted, they arent all the size of Tyne Cot and Lijssenhoek, but some of the small cemetaries are just as moving. Talbot House, of the famed Toc H lamps is very interesting too.

When you come across a tiny one and a plaque says
"The Devons held this trench, they hold it still" and snippets like that...........................................

Agree, the museum in the Cloth Hall at Ypres, and the execution post and cells at Poperinghe are worth the trip. I was a little disappointed at the Menin Gate ceremony, when we went, there were cord barriers waiting for some dignitaries to come through, and as the barriers were moved the whole crowd surged forward, buffeting some very elderly people.......................I despise bad manners.

Having done The Somme and Flanders numerous times, my next plan is to strike south and take in Chemin Des Dames and the Verdun area. I have also done the Italian ones along the Isonzo.

My great grandfather btw is commemorated on Thiepval.
 
Nov 16, 2015
10,930
3,221
40,935
Visit site
we spent several years around the Somme area , and I was surprised as to how many cemeteries for the Indian and Chinese there were, Just read on the Mail on line the French brought in 450, 000. African nationals from Senegal, Ghana , Somalia , etc to "Help" in the WW1.
Let us all hope there will never be a WW3.
 
May 24, 2014
3,687
765
20,935
Visit site
Amen to that. I saw enough in my little piece, heaven knows how they went through WW1 and kept their sanity.

After my last post I had a quick look at the Verdun area and sites, and I found a cemetary that makes Tyne Cot look tiny, that at Fort Douamont, Verdun
https://c7.alamy.com/comp/E9T0B9/douaumont-ossuary-cemetery-aerial-view-ww1-cemetery-near-verdun-meuse-E9T0B9.jpg

Re the Indians and Chinese troops, if you read the panels at Menin Gate. some of the names of the Indian Regiments were straight out of a Kipling Novel.
40th Pathans
45th Rattrays Sihks and so many more.
 
Mar 14, 2005
69
14
18,585
Visit site
You could try Campsite Jeugdstadion in Ypres (Ieper) which is on the outskirts of Ypres and within walking distance to the Menin Gate and the main square. We have camped there a couple of times and it is fine. As it is small, it is worth booking in advance if you were thinking of staying there. You have Tyne Cot Cemetery (Passchendaele), Hill 60, Poperinge and, of course, Ypres itself all within easy reach. Ypres is interesting in its own right with an excellent museum (In Flanders Fields) in the old Cloth Hall in the main square and St George's Church which is about 5 minutes walk from the main square. I also recommend Major & Mrs Holt's Battlefield Guide.
 

Parksy

Moderator
Nov 12, 2009
11,904
2,399
40,935
Visit site
Sorry that I can't help with any campsite information Stephen, but I have to say that the area is well worth visiting.
I came back last night from a coach tour of the area with a choir that I sing with, we stayed in Bruges and visited Ghent and Ypres (Leper) PLUS Essex Farm and Tyne Cot CWGC cemeteries where we took part in wreath laying ceremonies.
The nightly Last Post ceremony is something special, our choir were highly privileged to have been invited to take part.
For those interested there's a Facebook video taken by a friend of us singing at the Menin Gate ceremony last Friday, a truly humbling experience. I'm there singing but can't be seen in this clip because of the camera angle and the fact that I'm the shortest member of the choir, but it isn't about me, the ceremony is to honour those named on the panels at Menin Gate.
 
Sep 5, 2016
928
119
4,935
Visit site
Like others I have been round several war cemeteries in Belgium and France, but I can remember going back to France in the 80's with my late Father in Law who joined up in 1934, later in life he was a member of the Dunkirk vets association Leicester branch and a couple of times I went over with these buggars to De Panne, needless to say I was given a lesson in the finer art of consuming Stella,
 
May 24, 2014
3,687
765
20,935
Visit site
I came back last night from a coach tour of the area with a choir that I sing with, we stayed in Bruges and visited Ghent and Ypres (Leper) PLUS Essex Farm and Tyne Cot CWGC cemeteries where we took part in wreath laying ceremonies.
The nightly Last Post ceremony is something special, our choir were highly privileged to have been invited to take part.

Well done mate, its nice to see people remembering their sacrifice. Just seen the video, sounds very good indeed. How about a chorus of Mademoiselle from Armentieres ;)

Wonder if anyone is interested in doing a rally over there.
 
Oct 8, 2006
1,825
574
19,935
Visit site
If you stay at the Ypres municipal site already mentioned it is only 10 mins walk into the middle of the city. Round the corner from the church is the CWGC regional office and they will give you plenty of info on cemeteries and other places to visit.

I would give a sort of word of warning. Do not be surprised if you find yourself very emotional - in tears - as you leave some sites, especially the Passchendaele Museum in Zonnebecke. They are all very moving. The German cemetery at Langemark is also worth a visit, as is the CWGC at Tyne Cot as already noted.

The last post is sounded at 20:00 every night at the Menin Gate in Ypres, and there is also a similar ceremony at the memorial known as Hyde Park Corner down the road towards Mons at 19:00 on the first Friday of each month.

If you want plenty of info get a copy of 'Before Endeavours Fade' by Rose E.B. Coombs before you go. It costs about £17 but has a wealth of information - such as the big bangs at the Battle of Messines on 7th June 1917 which you may otherwise overlook.
 
Jul 15, 2008
3,676
718
20,935
Visit site
Parksy said:
Sorry that I can't help with any campsite information Stephen, but I have to say that the area is well worth visiting.
I came back last night from a coach tour of the area with a choir that I sing with, we stayed in Bruges and visited Ghent and Ypres (Leper) PLUS Essex Farm and Tyne Cot CWGC cemeteries where we took part in wreath laying ceremonies.
The nightly Last Post ceremony is something special, our choir were highly privileged to have been invited to take part.
For those interested there's a Facebook video taken by a friend of us singing at the Menin Gate ceremony last Friday, a truly humbling experience. I'm there singing but can't be seen in this clip because of the camera angle and the fact that I'm the shortest member of the choir, but it isn't about me, the ceremony is to honour those named on the panels at Menin Gate.

Glad you enjoyed it ...you won't forget the evening ceremony in a hurry....nice singing :cheer:

What is also impressive is the respect the locals have for the memorial.
Since there are too many names to fit on the panels there are cupboards within the pillars that contain ledgers with many more names.
These cupboards are left unlocked and the ledgers are available to anyone to read........there never seems to be any vandalism or act of desecration.

Bruges is very touristy..........on our last visit my wife's purse was blatantly nicked from her handbag when we were walking through a park.
A couple.....on the face of it..... just stumbled into the back of us... apologised and walked off.
Quick thinking on our part found the purse had gone....the woman had taken it.
We both set off in pursuit..........I took on the man and the wife the woman......the man strongly objected to my arm twisting after I caught up with him........so much so he gave me back our purse :whistle:
He had 3 or 4 other purses ........so they were having a good day until they picked on us.
Since we had our purse back and all it's contents we left it at that..........they left mouthing abuse in eastern European accents :evil:
 

Parksy

Moderator
Nov 12, 2009
11,904
2,399
40,935
Visit site
Well done Bill and Belinda it's great that you were so persuasive :lol: :lol: :lol:
We loved Bruges and had no problems, but there were 52 of us around town all in touch with each other via mobile phones if need be, but mainly to arrange meets for food and drinks. Our choir is now called Vivat but we were formerly known as the West Midlands Police Choir (or the Thin Blue Chorus Line) and we still have serving male and female police officers with us, so any would be robbers probably wouldn't have fared any better than the toerags who tried it with you.
I saw the ledgers that you mentioned, the war cemeteries that we laid wreaths and sang at also had similar ledgers and the cemeteries were immaculately looked after.
Our trip was very memorable indeed, it strengthened the bonds of friendship between choir members and reminded us all of the ultimate futility and waste of war and of the lessons that never seem to be learned.
 
May 24, 2014
3,687
765
20,935
Visit site
I may be wrong, but I dont think the legers are extra names, I think actually they are a list of the burials and a plot number of the grave or memorial panel. These are invaluable in large cemetaries such as TC if you are looking for an individual grave.
 
Oct 8, 2006
1,825
574
19,935
Visit site
Thingy said:
I may be wrong, but I dont think the legers are extra names, I think actually they are a list of the burials and a plot number ofr the grave or memorial panel. These are invaluable in large cemetaries such as TC if you are looking for an individual grave.

Correct.
 

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts