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Ensuring our younger generation understand the sacrifices of previous generations in WW1

Ensuring our younger generation understand the sacrifices of previous generations in WW1

We’d raced through 700km of Germany, to grab an opportunity to see Holland, Belgium whilst hoping we’d have time for the girls to experience a hugely important historical visit to the WW1 battlefields. So today’s visit to the WW1 Battlefields with Salient tours was more than eagerly anticipated…

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Thankfully the wonderfully efficient Salient Tours had a space for us, so we leapt at the the chance to join them on their morning visit to a variety of battlefields, cemeteries – a general tour that was intended to cover a real breadth of experiences. Having met us personally in their new minibus, we headed into the hub of Ypres and the hustle, bustle of the owner’s (Steve Douglas) shop – The British Grenadier Shop
Joining a party including new friend (Alex) we headed out under the guidance of Lucas, a truly inspiring guide, who made each and every place come alive with his enthusiastic but balanced views on the futility of war. Yet sensibly reminded us of the need to ensure it is remembered for future generations in a positive and respectful fashion.
A fact reinforced by the chance to see both the Commonwealth Graves and also the German Graves. The different between both was stark and a clear reminder of how different the cultures are. The Commonwealth Graves at both Essex Farm and Tyne Cot were full of both war burials (not geometrically aligned and often side by side (due to an inability place certain body parts to individuals) and also ceremonial graves full of geometric symmetry .

“Lest we forget the sacrifices of so many”

Whilst the German Graves were full of group burials (not to be confused with the word ‘mass’). German tradition dictated the use of surrounding oak trees (symbolising courage) and the planting of trees linking this site to the mythological river Styx. A lovely touch was the notion that each nation will adhere to a respectful burial for all (we’ll look after yours, if you look after ours)

​Both the Commonwealth Essex Farm (with its stark symbols of remembrance – Cross of Sacrifice & Stone of Remembrance) and the German Langemark ( with its inner sanctum depicting the horror of the ‘Studentenshaft‘ massacre of 1914) were wonderfully preserved and protected, serving as clear reminders of the extent of the sacrifices made by both nations.

Ypres

so where did we park the bus for the night?

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About The Author

Richard

Ever wanted to pack your bags, just jump in a motorhome and go off and explore Europe as a family? Well, that’s exactly what my family has done since September 2015. Visiting 35 European countries, travelling over 54,000 miles and grabbing over 450 family experiences on the way… enjoying Bobsleigh in Norway, Climbing into Mt Etna in Sicily or Kayaking the River Dordogne.

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