Brandhoek Cemetery is where Captain Noel Chavasse was laid to rest. Captain Chavasse is one of just three men to have been accorded Britain’s top award for bravery, the Victoria Cross. Furthermore, he has also been accorded the Military Cross. I am at present reading a book titled “In Foreign Fields” by Dan Collins and it is written about soldiers who’ve been accorded medals in Afghanistan and Iraq. When you understand exactly what a soldier needed to undertake in order to be granted an MC, it forces you to understand what a brave man Captain Chavasse was especially when he was a member of the Royal Medical Corps and never fired a shot for the duration of the war.
My next stop was near to the village of Passchendaele at the largest sized British Military Cemetery at Tynecot. Over 12,000 soldiers are buried here. From the cemetery, you can easily look out for several miles in all directions over fields and it seems tough to imagine the carnage which had been there 90 years ago. The visitors centre provides a historical past of the region as the names of a few of the fallen and missing are sent out calmly over audio speakers.
From Tynecot, I began to head back in direction of Ypres stopping at Hill 61 (Sanctuary Wood) on the way back. There is a little museum and some preserved trenches here. All through my trip, the weather was not kind and even if it was nothing like as lousy as conditions might have been throughout The Great War, the bottom of the trenches still looked quite awful. It cost a couple of Euros to get in and this was the first time I began to find out the impact of the notorious mud.
My next planned stop was the Hooge Crater. As previously in the day, I had a hard time trying to locate it although I saw a little independent museum called the Hooge Crater Museum which in fact had a compelling variety of artefacts such as a British Ambulance and a Victoria Cross.
My sightseeing for the day wasn’t complete as I still had to take a look at the renowned Cloth Hall which was almost ruined (since totally reconstructed) as well as the Last Post ceremony and that is carried out at 8pm each evening at the Menin Gate. I always find the Last Post incredibly haunting and moving to listen to. Soon after it was finished, 2 wreaths were laid by young British troops and was followed by a recital from Laurence Binyon’s “For The Fallen”
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.