Whitby High School

Battlefields Tour 18-21st March 2006

Flanders Field, Belgium - Ypres Town Tour
Sunday 19th March

Le Chateau

On Saturday 18th March 5pm, We arrived at Le Chateau, near Hazebrouk, St Omer in Northern France, which was ideally placed to tour the nearby former Western Front area.



Sunday Morning: On leaving the Chateau we travelled north into Belgium to the town of Ypres.



Enroute to Ypres we paused to visit Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery in Poperinge to search for the grave of Serjeant Isaac Rose of Queen Street, Ellesmere Port. This was the beginning of our research into tracing many of the names off our local war memorial in Ellesmere Port. See the link in the left hand menu to view the results.

Before World War One, Ypres was one of the most picturesque towns in Flanders. Its major buildings, the Cathedral and the Cloth Hall, dated from the period of the town's greatest prosperity as a cloth centre in the late middle ages. At its height, the town and surrounding countryside had a population of 200,000. By 1914 it was a sleepy market town of less than 20,000 inhabitants which drew its main income from hops.

The town saw some of the worst fighting of the war despite being behind allied lines. It was in shelling range and was practically levelled by 1918. Even the magnificent medieval Cloth Hall and cathedral which dominated the town and the skyline from miles around were completely destroyed. The original was built between 1260 and 1304. Part of this survives in the lower portion of the belfry. The post war reconstruction was begun in 1934 and was not completed until the 1960's. We were headed for this building as since 1998 it has housed the In Flanders Field Museum.


In Flanders Field Museum, Ypres

This museum, dedicated to the memory of WWI in Flanders, Belgium, is located in the reconstructed Cloth Hall and was opened in 1999.

Ypres 1914

Ypres Cloth Hall Christmas 1917


Cloth Hall and Square


Ypres 1918

Ypres 1919


After an intense morning, a brief respite before heading off for a tour of the Salient. 

We were to return later that evening for a meal and to take part in the service at the Menin Gate.

The Tour

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Updated 8th April 2006 by Mike Royden
The Whitby High School, Cheshire County Council.