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Advice needed - war graves

I want to take the kids to visit the war graves this half term where are the must do sites
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  • Not sure about must do but there’s one near Etaples and Vimy Ridge is well worth taking in. A lot to do there, visitors centre, restores trenches as well as the cemetery.

    The caves at Arras are only around the corner too.
  • Ta mate

    How old are your kids and what do you think they'll make of it?
  • @SE7toSG3 @Tom_Hovi

    Ypres for the Menin Gate at sunset, Thiepval for the really big site but my favourites are the small sites with maybe 20 or 30 graves in the middle of an otherwise ordinary field.
  • Ta mate

    No worries mate, Arras is a decent place to stay as well. Give me a shout if you need any hotel advice there.
  • @DaveMehmet I will drop you a text mate in the morning

    Ta mate

    How old are your kids and what do you think they'll make of it?
    17 yrs
    8 yrs
    4 yrs

    Want to do 2 days there and 3 days in the alps

  • @DaveMehmet I will drop you a text mate in the morning


    Ta mate

    How old are your kids and what do you think they'll make of it?
    17 yrs
    8 yrs
    4 yrs

    Want to do 2 days there and 3 days in the alps

    Hope it goes well - think it will be a really good experience and possibly very emotional.
  • Not really a grave but Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial is worth a visit, got some trenches there which will give a flavour. Same goes for Sanctuary Wood
  • Think @Henry Irving is right on this. The smaller cemeteries somehow seem more personal whereas the really big ones are just like a slap in the face in realisation of the senseless slaughter.
  • We stayed at Arras when we cycled London to Paris. Stopping at one of the commonwealth war cemetries just outside Arras was jaw dropping. You just dont appreciate how many sacrified their lives until you see the crosses :(
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  • @SE7toSG3 @Tom_Hovi

    Ypres for the Menin Gate at sunset, Thiepval for the really big site but my favourites are the small sites with maybe 20 or 30 graves in the middle of an otherwise ordinary field.

    As I said on here before and clive researched for me the battle of Ypres is very close to the family heart strings so this is a definite visit
  • I’m really hoping that another Charlton Life trip can be arranged at some point. The one in July 2017 was without doubt one of the best weeekends I have ever spent.
  • edited October 19
    If you travel to Ypres can I suggest a brief visit to Pool of Peace, have a read up before you go, gives a real sense what these poor solders went through.

    http://www.greatwar.co.uk/ypres-salient/memorial-spanbroekmolen-pool-of-peace.htm
  • I wouldn't mind seeing this:

    https://www.shroudsofthesomme.com
  • will have to speak to @Se7toSG3 Addick about the possibility of another CL trip to either Ypres or the Somme. Bit worried though that any travel plans next year could be affected by Brexit.
  • @SE7toSG3 @Tom_Hovi

    Ypres for the Menin Gate at sunset, Thiepval for the really big site but my favourites are the small sites with maybe 20 or 30 graves in the middle of an otherwise ordinary field.

    Agreed, especially at this time with the centenary just around the corner. Menin Gate is a must but you need to get there early (at least 7pm, perhaps a bit sooner at the moment) to be sure of seeing anything. But worth the effort if you do so. Cemetery-wise, definitely check out some of the smaller ones. Check the CWGC website and see which are nearest to where you’re staying.
  • If you are going this half-term @nth london addick then Ypres will be pretty busy, Halloween is a huge event out there, there is a London Eye type thing set up in the Grande Place at the moment which gives pretty good views over the Salient though.

    If you struggle for a hotel (Hotel Regina is well located and good value) or a B&B (Varlet Farm is remote but worth a stay), I would suggest trying Dixsmuide, the d'withuis is superb and only 20 mins from the Menin Gate/Hell Fire Corner.

    If you wanted something different in Ypres to see I would say take time to visit St Georges Chapel, for me its an incredible living memorial to the 250,000 men of the BEF who fell in the Ypres Salient, thats roughly 1 in 3 of our total war dead.

    The Menin Gate does get very crowded, rather than be rammed in with hundreds of people lifting thier i-phones to record the service, talk a walk from the Lille Gate, along the Vauban Ramparts, pass the memorial to Indian soldiers and stand at the top of the Menin Gate by the list of men from the London Regiment, many of those in the 20th Battalion (Blackheath & Woolwich) would have been addicks.

    From here you can look back over the city of Ypres and hear the last post as it echoes off the walls of the Menin Gate, a very moving experience. If you manage to get tickets to see the MESH performance of Journey's End playing in the Ramparts until November you wont regret it either (though probably a bit much for you little ones to be fair).

    @DaveMehmet comes up trumps with suggesting Arras, loads of good hotels, you can also then take a more topical look at the advance to victory in 1918 towards Cambrai and beyond, there are some wonderful remote cemeteries and memorials that do not attract the crowds, personally, the Vis-en-Artois Memorial around 20 mins from Arras is where I would head to, too my mind its quite stunning.

    Perhaps if we did another CL tour next year I would suggest to Neal we visit Arras and from there look at the Somme in 1916 for a day and the Advance to Victory in 1918 for a day. That way wee could see exactly how much the British army evolves to make it the war winning force it became a hundred years ago today. I do believe ots as important to learn and understand as visit so that we are able to empathise as opposed to sympathise with the Great War generation, its certainly what the veterans who endured such a titanic struggle for four years that I knew wanted us to do. Lest we forget.
  • Bit of a stretch maybe but Verdun is a fascinating place to visit, if not then definately Vimy Ridge or any of the number of 'sights' around the Somme.
  • SE7toSG3 said:

    If you are going this half-term @nth london addick then Ypres will be pretty busy, Halloween is a huge event out there, there is a London Eye type thing set up in the Grande Place at the moment which gives pretty good views over the Salient though.

    If you struggle for a hotel (Hotel Regina is well located and good value) or a B&B (Varlet Farm is remote but worth a stay), I would suggest trying Dixsmuide, the d'withuis is superb and only 20 mins from the Menin Gate/Hell Fire Corner.

    If you wanted something different in Ypres to see I would say take time to visit St Georges Chapel, for me its an incredible living memorial to the 250,000 men of the BEF who fell in the Ypres Salient, thats roughly 1 in 3 of our total war dead.

    The Menin Gate does get very crowded, rather than be rammed in with hundreds of people lifting thier i-phones to record the service, talk a walk from the Lille Gate, along the Vauban Ramparts, pass the memorial to Indian soldiers and stand at the top of the Menin Gate by the list of men from the London Regiment, many of those in the 20th Battalion (Blackheath & Woolwich) would have been addicks.

    From here you can look back over the city of Ypres and hear the last post as it echoes off the walls of the Menin Gate, a very moving experience. If you manage to get tickets to see the MESH performance of Journey's End playing in the Ramparts until November you wont regret it either (though probably a bit much for you little ones to be fair).

    @DaveMehmet comes up trumps with suggesting Arras, loads of good hotels, you can also then take a more topical look at the advance to victory in 1918 towards Cambrai and beyond, there are some wonderful remote cemeteries and memorials that do not attract the crowds, personally, the Vis-en-Artois Memorial around 20 mins from Arras is where I would head to, too my mind its quite stunning.

    Perhaps if we did another CL tour next year I would suggest to Neal we visit Arras and from there look at the Somme in 1916 for a day and the Advance to Victory in 1918 for a day. That way wee could see exactly how much the British army evolves to make it the war winning force it became a hundred years ago today. I do believe ots as important to learn and understand as visit so that we are able to empathise as opposed to sympathise with the Great War generation, its certainly what the veterans who endured such a titanic struggle for four years that I knew wanted us to do. Lest we forget.

    Thanks mate I think you e just planned the trip for me
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  • I have 6-8 for the next CL trip Clive (dates permitting)....
  • The South African memorial in the Somme is well worth a visit as is the museum there....so much to see you could spend at least a month travelling around northern France....enjoy your trip....sorry for information overload but if there is one museum worth seeing it's the one in Peronne.
  • @nth london addick if you are taking the kids, why not research your surname here https://www.cwgc.org/find/find-war-dead-and-cemeteries and during your trip visit a cemetery where there is a headstone with your name on it. Nothing will move the youngsters more than that and it really brings home the sacrifice made by those brave men.
  • edited October 20
    Addickted said:

    @nth london addick if you are taking the kids, why not research your surname here https://www.cwgc.org/find/find-war-dead-and-cemeteries and during your trip visit a cemetery where there is a headstone with your name on it. Nothing will move the youngsters more than that and it really brings home the sacrifice made by those brave men.

    87 WW1 graves with @nth london addick s surname.

    Just hope the locals arent shagging in the back of a car like the time we pulled up at an out of the way cemetery @Addickted
  • Turned out there was a relative of mine on the menin gate. Really hit home when they played the last post
  • @SE7toSG3 @Tom_Hovi

    Ypres for the Menin Gate at sunset, Thiepval for the really big site but my favourites are the small sites with maybe 20 or 30 graves in the middle of an otherwise ordinary field.

    Ypres Menin gate service every night at 8.00 P.M.
    Was there last week.
    Lots of people including school kids.
    Moving ceremony.
  • WSAWSA
    edited October 20
    Perhaps for another time...

    The Normandy coast for a WW2 history lesson.

    Bayeux British war cemetery - the epitaths on the graves had me in tears
    The Normandy American Cemetery (Colleville-sur-Mer). Featured in Saving Private Ryan.
    La Cambe German War Cemetery - absolutely stunning/awesome design

    D-Day beaches,
    Arromanches (Mulberry towers)

    and further down towards Brittany

    Oradour-sur-Glane, 87520, France


    Keep going... The Picos mountains are beautiful

    Coming back Honfleur, Rouen, Amiens
    Nearby: Giverny, Chartres, Versailles
  • edited October 20
    I would add that any trip to Ypres should include a visit to the German cemetery, Langemark, for the stark contrast to the way the German war dead were remembered after the war. A very poignant impact as you would expect.
  • I would add that any trip to Ypres should include a visit to the German cemetery, Langemark, for the stark contrast to the way the German war dead were remembered after the war. A very poignant impact as you would expect.

    Agree. Stark contrast to the CWGC sites and worth visiting.
  • Stupid question and hope its not disrespectful as I have a lot of genuine respect and interest in the Great War, yet are you allowed to walk across what would have been No Mans Land (If you know where it was) or is a lot of it private farm / dangerous land now because of the unexploded material there.

    My family has always been fortunate in the respect that only one relative has been killed in the two Wars when my Great Uncle was killed in a plane accident (bad weather rather than enemy fire did the damage) on the South Downs as he was transported to France.

    About a year ago whilst researching the family tree I came across an Uncle of my Nan who was killed on the 1st day of the Somme at Gommecourt (one of the Diversion attacks that worked until the men had to retreat due to a lack of support), his body was never found so is on the Thiepval Memorial yet to my knowledge is the only person in my family to be killed by the "enemy".

    Ever since finding out about William (Yup its where I got the name from for my Son) I've wanted to go see him not just at Thiepval yet where he fell at Gommecourt too hence my initial question

    (Apologies for highjacking @nth london addick's thread)
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