War Memorials/Military Cemeteries, Ieper

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  • Re-engraving a headstone.
    Re-engraving a headstone.
    by breughel
  • Re-engraving a headstone.
    Re-engraving a headstone.
    by breughel
  • The largest CWGC cemetery
    The largest CWGC cemetery "Tyne Cot" in...
    by breughel
  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Maintenance of the headstones.

    by breughel Updated Jul 3, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Re-engraving a headstone.
    1 more image

    Favorite thing: The Commonwealth War Graves Commission maintains over a million war graves as well as hundreds of memorials honouring the 750,000 war dead who have no known grave.
    An important task of the CWGC is to keep the inscriptions on headstones and memorials legible. The commission has set criteria for the legibility: the inscriptions should be legible at a distance from two paces; if not the inscriptions are re-engraved without moving the headstone.
    The process starts by sanding down the entire headstone followed by the re-engraving of the inscription by hand, using a drill, powered by compressed air. To finish, a fine sanding machine is used to smooth down the whole headstone. It is not an easy work as you can see from my photos taken at the cemetery of Etaples in the North of France.
    The position of the CWGC is the following: "we believe that an eroded inscription is a brave man or woman forgotten and that is unacceptable."

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    Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

    by breughel Updated Oct 4, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The largest CWGC cemetery

    Favorite thing: Without the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) the cemeteries and memorials of Flanders would not be what they are.
    So, just a few words for the admirable work they did by constructing about 2500 war cemeteries and numerous memorials worldwide of which a large number in Belgium and France for the two World Wars.

    The Commission was founded by Sir Fabian Ware and officially established by Royal Charter on 21 May 1917. The six current members are United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, and South Africa.

    The Commission's principles are the following:
    Each of the dead should be commemorated by name on the headstone or memorial.
    Headstones and memorials should be permanent.
    Headstones should be uniform.

    The CWGC under the guidance of architects like Edwin Lutyens and others enacted a number of cemetery features.
    In any cemetery with over 40 graves, stands the Cross of Sacrifice, designed by the architect Reginald Blomfield to represent the faith of the majority. Cemeteries with over 1.000 burials have a Stone of Remembrance, designed by Lutyens to commemorate those of all faiths and none.
    For the uniform graves and headstones see my specific tip.
    A horticultural environment was created to give to the visitors a sense of peace in a beautiful and serene setting.

    The CWGC cemetery layouts and architectural structures resulted in a number of remarkable monuments in "Flanders Fields".

    For details see www.cwgc.org

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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    Graves and Headstones.

    by breughel Updated Oct 4, 2009

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    Identified standard headstones
    2 more images

    Favorite thing: The Commonwealth authorities had decided that bodies should not be repatriated and that uniform memorials should be used. At the end of the WW I started the production of uniform headstones most made of Portland stone. The headstones were engraved by hand. They are all rectangles with rounded tops.

    At the top British headstones bear the regimental badge, those from the other countries are marked with their national emblem.
    Just below the badge or emblem is engraved the rank (with a distinction for infantry "Private", artillery "Gunner", engineers "Sapper"), name, number, unit, date of death and eventually age (photo 1).
    Most headstones are inscribed with a Cross, a few with a Star of David or no religious symbol for those deceased known to be atheist.
    At the bottom there is often an epitaph chosen by the soldier's family.

    Many gravestones concern unidentified casualties; these headstones bear the inscription "A Soldier of the Great War, Known unto God". (photo 3).
    Before the use of the uniform headstones military cemeteries looked like the one of my photo N° 2 near Ypres.

    The names of the fallen soldiers whose rests were not identified are engraven on the walls of the various memorials.

    The cleaning and eventual re-engraving of the 800.000 First World War headstones worldwide is a mission of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

    For details see www.cwgc.org

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

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  • In Flanders Fields - John McCrae

    by Maeve_81 Written Apr 28, 2004
    In Flanders field the poppies blow... John McCrae

    Fondest memory: In Flanders Fields

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.

    John McCrae

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    Ieper, why I had to go

    by Pavlik_NL Written Feb 15, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Where mother Mary (Madonna) watches us as her baby

    Fondest memory: Always I wanted to know what Ieper was about. Many books I have read and many stories I have heared. Finally I got my chance and it was definately worth while. I recommened anyone who is interested in mankinds greatest and lowest achievements to come to Ieper. Here one can find what it is to be human in the most splendourous creations as well as the horrific tragedies that we too can be hold responsible for. Let's remember for always that a war to end all wars, will be the one that is not fought in the first place. Nationalism, chauvinism and in general fanatic behaviour are the things that end with the worse that one can find within the human soul. Ieper's dramatic past is an example that we should treasure and never forget, to become a lesson from the past into the future.

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    Poem by John McCrae

    by Mahieu Written Aug 10, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: "In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields."

    John McCrae, a medical officer during the Great war, wrote this poem the day after presiding at the funeral of a friend in 1915.

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