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  #1  
Old 5 Aug 2008
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WW1 battlefields - Ypres (Ieper) Belgium

I have gathered a variety of points of interest for use on Garmin GPS from all kinds of sources and thought it may be good to share these .

Anyone planning to visit the WW1 battlefields around Ypres in the south west of Belgium may find these useful. If you do visit , brace yourself - it's pretty daunting stuff. The war graves abound everywhere. Best place to start is Ypres town centre and visit the Flanders Fields museum (allow at least 2 hours for this) then hit the road.

The last post is played everyday of the year at 8pm , except on the 11th November when it's at 11.00am .

Not sure if 'enjoy ' is the right word to use but certainly it's an experience worth taking time to visit this area.

Anyone planning to visit this area please send me a PM with yoru email details and I can email you back the Garmin waypoint file. I can't post it here. There are over 200 points of interest in the file.
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Old 5 Aug 2008
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And there are more old bunkers from the WW in Belgium.
Like Breendonk, Liezele, etc.
But even on the French side.
Belgium is a little, intresting land.
By the way, it is not flat, like many people think.
And even when it is little, there are many difference people and places.
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Old 6 Aug 2008
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Ypres itself is quite a pretty town, it is walled, with a moat around part of it. During the summer there is a good camp site only about 5 minutes from the Menin Gate (where the last post is sounded) - which is incredibly moving.....(on school grounds outside the Menin Gate, about 500m south from memory)....plus a good range of B&B's and hotels.......it is actually quite flat around Ypres but other parts of Belgium further away from the coast are hilly (including the Ardennes) and very pretty.
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Old 6 Aug 2008
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Great Post

Thanks for the great post. We should never forgot those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can have so much.

Thank you.
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Old 7 Aug 2008
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I always get choked up when visiting the war graves, its the scale of the losses that my grandfather's generation suffered in WWI. I think that every wannabe politician should spend a year tending those graves - that should give them sufficient time to reflect on their actions.

I have also visited a couple of small war graves (WWII) in Brittany with only (fortunately) two or three unknown soldiers buried in them - even sadder that no one knew who they were, but a tribute to the local people who still care for those graves.
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Old 7 Aug 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerM View Post
I always get choked up when visiting the war graves, its the scale of the losses that my grandfather's generation suffered in WWI. I think that every wannabe politician should spend a year tending those graves - that should give them sufficient time to reflect on their actions.

I have also visited a couple of small war graves (WWII) in Brittany with only (fortunately) two or three unknown soldiers buried in them - even sadder that no one knew who they were, but a tribute to the local people who still care for those graves.
As some of you know, I am a Brit now living in France. We have an old french farmhouse and part by chance and part by subsequent research I have learned this about previous inhabitants of our house.
On September 18th 1913, 17 year old Desiree came here as the new bride of Emile. On july 31 1914 their first (and only) son was born. Emile went off to war on August the 4th 1914. He returned on leave at the end of march 1918, and walked with his toddler son down the little internal farm lane. This is the only memory the son ever had of his father, who returned to active service after the weekend leave. Emile was killed on April the 18th at Kemmel hill and was buried there in a mass grave. Of the 5200 odd French soldiers who died there (many from gas) only 57 were identified. Emile Coulais was one of them.
The son, a pharmacist and member of the resistance was killed by the Germans in 1944.
Desiree never remarried.

Last edited by oldbmw; 7 Feb 2009 at 21:40. Reason: date corrected.
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Old 8 Aug 2008
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That's a fascinating story. very sad but very true of life for thousands of families back then. We just have no idea how lucky we are today. Since the foundation of the European Union we have enjoyed peace in Europe as never seen before in history. For all it's failings the EU insstitutions at least have this to their credit.
If you visit the Flanders Fields museum in Ypres, your entry ticket has a barcode on it. The idea is you can insert your ticket into various computer screens located arround the museum and your ticket is actually a story of a real person . As you go through the museum and enter your ticket you get more information about them and what happened to them during the war. At the last machine just before the exit you learn about their fate..... most were killed or never found. It's a harsh reminder about just how real it was.
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Old 8 Aug 2008
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Thumbs down Breendonk

If you would wish to do something for the on-going modern day problems of war, you could consider this:-


I am forwarding a petition on the No 10 website and wondered if you would sign it in support of a dedicated Military Hospital – see below.

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Wounded



If you support this, would you be kind enough to pass it onto friends and family who might do the same. We have a time limit of 19th August to sign up to it.



Many thanks


Incidentally, Breendonk is a horrible place: I visited it a couple of times in the late 1990s. The last time I was there, I talked with a couple of old guys who had been imprisoned there (they must be dead by now, they were that old at the time of meeting) - their stories were not nice to hear. It is not a military cemetary, but a place where some fascist Belgiums, working for the occupying Nazi authorities, screened other Belgiums before passing them on through the chain back to Germany for slave labour, or worse. Screening included the use of torture to obtain information about others. There is also a place of execution and the inmates were forced to dig earth all day and simply move it around on starvation rations. Breendock was originally built as part of the Belgium extension of the French Maginot line of forts: obviously the defensive line did not work too well! The dug earth is the earth-fill ramparts to the fort - the inmates got about 2/3 of them dug out and wheel-barrowed a short distance away by the time that Belgium was liberated --- that's the short version of the story.
It is now a national museum on the lines of "never forget".


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Old 10 Nov 2008
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Flanders Fields

Hi
I have just returned from Flanders after visiting the 'Plugstreet' ceremony last Friday with my son (on four wheels - some years since I rode my BSA)
I'd be interested to receive your list of POI's for the Battlefields if possible.
I've only just seen this forum and it tells me I cannot contact you direct.
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Old 10 Nov 2008
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Flanders Fields

I'm new to this site but saw your message on WW1 POI's.
Having just returned from Ypres this weekend, but will no doubt be returning before too long, I would be grateful if you could supply me with the POI's for my Garmin.
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Old 7 Feb 2009
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There is a new book out with a cd-rom.
It is a 12 days long trip in Belgium and follows WW1.
It includes the trips for your GPS.
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Old 7 Feb 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roodeberg View Post
During the summer there is a good camp site only about 5 minutes from the Menin Gate.
I stayed at a camp site in Ypres which was very close to the Menin Gate; presumably the same one.

It's at N50 50.785 E2 53.788

I agree with the opinions expressed here. Ypres is a very special place and shouldn't be missed if you're passing.

Stephan
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Old 5 Mar 2009
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WW1 battlefields - POI

Hello,

I'm traveling to Ypres on March 22nd and would like to add your file to my garmin. I'd be grateful if you could send me your wavefile. Thanks so much!

Darren Potter
Cleveland, OH USA
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Old 12 Mar 2009
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I did a WW1 tour in 2003...

Very touching indeed. White grave stones for further than the eye can see. It is a very moving experience. Seeing the ages on some of the stones (some as low as 14), really hits you !

The towns and countryside you pass through are really beatiful too...
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Old 12 Mar 2009
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Gecko,

I know it's been a little while since you posted this. I'm going to Belgium this weekend and would be very keen to see some of these WW1 sites. I just PM'd you for the file. Many many thanks.

Regards
Seth
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