Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Menin Gate Memorial

Leavin’ Ypres I passed through the impressive Menin Gate Memorial, perhaps the most visited Great War Memorial on the Western Front. The Menin Gate marked the start of one of the main roads out of Ypres towards the front line and tens of thousands of men must have passed through it and onwards along the infamous Menin Road, so many of them never to return.

The Menin Gate Memorial contains, inside and out, huge panels into which are carved the names of the 54,896 officers and men of the commonwealth forces who died in the Ypres Salient area and who have no known graves. This figure, however, does not represent all of the missing from this area. It was found that the Menin Gate, immense though it is, was not large enough to hold the names of all the missing. The names recorded on the gate's panels are those of men who died in the area between the outbreak of the war in 1914 and 15th August, 1917. The names of a further 34,984 of the missing - those who died between 16th August, 1917 and the end of the war, are recorded on carved panels at Tyne Cot Cemetery, on the slopes just below Passchendaele

Every evening since 1928 at precisely 8pm, the Last Post, the traditional salute to the fallen warrior, is played under Ypres' Menin Gate Memorial. The ceremony takes place every day of the year, whatever the weather. This daily tribute, performed by a team of local buglers, honours the memory of the soldiers of the British Empire who fought and died in the region during the First World War. 

Hear an extract from the daily ceremony under the Menin Gate: Last Post (180Kb MP3)

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