For all students of the First World War, the significance of the losses that were suffered in the battlefields of the Ypres Salient cannot be over emphasised. The memorials in this region are numerous, and considerable effort has gone into preserving the memory and the sacrifices that were made by soldiers on both sides of battle.
The ‘In Flanders Fields’ interactive museum based in the former Cloth Hall at the centre of Ypres, offers a very personal record of how the war affected those involved in it. This museum encourages families of former soldiers to bring memorabilia for display along with their personal stories, which makes for an incredibly moving visit.
Beyond the town, expert guides are available to show you all the significant cemeteries and explain their particular connections. Your students will be encouraged to seek out references to members of their families and to appreciate how most of the soldiers lying all around them were little older than they are now, when they died. The literary connections of the trenches are highlighted with handwritten versions of the poetry composed at any given site. The trenches and bunkers can also be experienced first-hand.
Many of the local towns have their own specific museums as a mark of respect to those who fought and gave their lives to protect their homes, such as Talbot House in Poperinge. The cells and execution pole behind the modern day town hall in Poperinge are particularly poignant. It has been preserved exactly as it would have been for British soldiers, with bullet holes in the wooden pillars showing where teenagers were shot for desertion, simply for being afraid.
Ypres is only one and a half hours from Calais so your first day will depend very much on your departure point and the time it takes you to get to Dover/Folkestone.
Travel and visit the ‘In Flanders Fields’ Museum. See the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate (or we can
arrange for 2-3 students to take part and lay a wreath).
Day excursion with a specialist guide. Visits to include the town of Messines and Bayern Walk Reconstructed German Trenches, Hooge Crater Cemetery and Museum, Hill 60, Polygon Wood and Tyne Cot Cemetery.
Finishing with Passchendaele Memorial Museum and then Langemark Cemetery and Talbot House.
Visit to Fromelles to arrive for 1200; picnic lunch at appropriate spot in Fromelles (the scene of some of the
bloodiest battles of the Great War), visit the cemetery, the new Fromelles Museum (opened 2014) and the
surrounding area before returning to Ypres via Essex Farm Cemetery.
Travel home day with visit en-route.
Deeper study of literature, tactics or any specific battle will require staying for an extra day or so in the area.
Visits And Excursions
Each group will have its own special interests and curricular needs, that’s why every visit can be completely tailored around you. You’ll find some suggestions below, but you can always call us to discuss more options.