Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tyncot on Passchendale Ridge

We spent yesterday (Tuesday) traveling the length of the Ypres battlefields, from Messines to Passchendaele with Robert and Angela Dunlop. It was fascinating. It is really only when you walk the ground that you can really appreciate what this was all about.  I had never realised just how significant the Messines ridge, and the high ground on which Passchendaele Village, are. When you are down in the low ground the nature of the terrain is so subtle that it is hard to realise the significance of the high ground. It is only when you get onto the ridges that you can see how totally they dominate the low ground below, and therefore the town of Ypres (Ieper). It was little wonder that the commanders of the time thought that these piece sof ground were worth so many lives (it is easy to sit in judgement of that belief with the benefit of hindsight of course).

We ended out ravels for the day by visiting Tyncot cemetery, on the Passchendaele Ridge. It's the largest CWGC cemetery in the world, and holds graves, and far more memorials carved in stone, for so many names.

The entry ...

 

The view from the cemetery out across the plains below. The spire of the Cloth Hall (as it was known) in the centre of Ypres is between the two trees close together about a third of the way across the picture from the left.


We left Tyncot pretty quietly. The last time we felt this way was when we saw the memorial at Thiepval. While I started the visit with the clinical interest of history, it seems impossible to come away without being profoundly affected why the scale of human a\sacrifice that was involved.

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