With Such Memorials We Will Never Forget
By Stewart Creasey
23 April 2014
With the centenary of World War One, Great Rail Journeys bring you a moving series of trips to the battlefields and graves of Northern France and Belgium.Read more
If, as the war poet Rupert Brooke wrote, "there's some corner of a foreign field that is for ever England" it must surely be the Tyne Cot Cemetery just outside the historic village of Passchendaele.
Begun in 1917, shortly after the 3rd Australian Division captured this strategically-important area, a German defensive point on the Passchendaele-Broodseinde road, Tyne Cot is believed to take its name from a barn which stood beside a railway level crossing in the area and which reminded soldiers of the British Northumberland Fusiliers of a traditional Tyneside worker's cottage: a 'Tyne Cot'.
Today, Tyne Cot Cemetery is the largest Commonwealth war memorial and cemetery in the world and an unmissable destination for visitors on our First World War battlefield tours in Flanders, north-west Belgium.
The site of the graves of 11,956 commonwealth servicemen who lost their lives in the Battle of Passchendaele, the sheer scale of this beautifully-maintained cemetery is overwhelming, and the poignancy of the experience of visiting Tyne Cot Cemetery is further emphasised by the fact that seventy percent of the soldiers commemorated here are unknown, their headstones marked simply "Known unto God".
Beyond the countless rows of white headstones and crosses that fill this vast cemetery, the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing forms the far wall and lists the names of almost 35,000 servicemen, in order of rank, declared 'missing in action' and for whom there is no known grave.
Tyne Cot, originally a German stronghold, was the site of several concrete 'block houses'; military fortifications used as gunning or observation posts. When King George V visited Tyne Cot Cemetery in 1922, he ordered the construction of a memorial cross - the Cross of Sacrifice - to be built upon one of these blockhouses. This monument forms a focal point for the cemetery and is immediately visible from the entrance. Two further German Blockhouses remain within the cemetery's boundaries.
In 2007 a Visitors Centre was opened. As visitors approach the centre a recorded voice speaks the name of each of the servicemen listed as 'missing in action' and commemorated on the Memorial wall. The Visitors Centre features displays and vintage photographs which place the events of the First World War, the battles that took place around Ypres and Passchendaele and the history of Tyne Cot and the cemetery into context.
Visit Ypres and enjoy a tour of fabulous Bruges, with its perfectly preserved centre and myriad of attractive waterways making it a wonderful destination to explore. We will also discover some of the most significant battlefields fought upon during the Great War, as well as experiencing what life was really like in the trenches.… see more
5 days from £645 ppView tour details >
A short rail journey to Lille takes us close to the Battlefields of Ypres and the Somme, two of the most infamous and iconic sites of the First World War. We also explore the fascinating city of Lille on a guided tour which includes a traditional beer and waffle tasting.… see more
5 days from £585 ppView tour details >